Second Operating Theatre Opens to Help Increase Capacity

The second of two additional operating theatres has opened at Forth Valley Royal Hospital as part of national plans to increase diagnostic, surgical and inpatient capacity across Scotland.

Extra operating lists are already running in the hospital’s existing 15 theatres, including extended sessions over weekends, and the additional theatre will further increase capacity and create more flexibility to provide planned and emergency surgery across the 16 operating theatres.

NHS Forth Valley has successfully recruited around 30 additional staff over the last year to help manage the increased theatre activity. These include theatre nurses, consultant anaesthetists, consultant orthopaedic surgeons as well as theatre practitioners, healthcare support workers and clinical team leaders. It is estimated that up to 1500 additional operations, both day and inpatient procedures, will now be able to be carried annually to support local and national plans.

The major £17 million investment forms part of national plans to reduce waiting times and increase capacity across NHS Scotland. In addition to the two new theatres, a second MRI scanner was installed in the hospital in 2019 and an additional inpatient ward is also being created which will form part of a network of National Treatment Centres.

Marie Gardiner, Head of Ambulatory Care, Diagnostics and Theatre Services, NHS Forth Valley, said: “The theatre team have worked incredibly hard to open the new operating theatres and a wide range of additional clinical and support staff have been recruited over the last year to support this significant expansion.”

NHS Forth Valley continued to provide emergency and urgent treatment, including cancer surgery, during the Covid-19 pandemic and moved very quickly to restart planned surgery for patients whose operations had been postponed as soon as it was safe to do so.

The number of operations being carried out at Forth Valley Royal Hospital continues to increase each week as part of local remobilisation and recovery plans which take into account the need for physical distancing and enhanced infection control measures to protect the health of patients and staff. The number of patients with Covid-19 who require to be admitted to hospital has also reduced significantly over the last few months.