The P+HS team have transformed an empty space on the third storey of Morpeth NHS Centre to create a new Outpatient Hub which will reduce waiting times and improve patient experience. With elevated views out across the town, the facility was aptly named by staff as Morpeth View.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust currently operates outpatient clinics and other services on the ground floor of the Centre; taking over the previously empty third floor space allows it to expand its local provision. The new bespoke facility provides one-stop clinics for orthopaedics and plastics, which operate in conjunction with existing facilities within the building.
Northumbria Healthcare’s orthopaedic team currently carries out 3,200 hip and knee replacements (arthroplasty) each year. Prior to having surgery, patients require a full work-up, which includes pre-assessment, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Currently, patients have to carry out separate trips to hospital for each of these elements, which can lead to longer waits if patients cannot make a particular appointment.
Morpeth View has been built to a modern, flexible and purposeful design to help support the trust’s goal of developing innovative ways of delivering multi-disciplinary outpatient services. The arthroplasty clinic will allow patients to receive a full work-up for theatre during the same appointment, which will help to minimise delays to treatment and provide a better all-round experience for patients.
Scott Muller, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We know that waiting times are a key part of the high-quality care that we always strive to deliver. By having this new one-stop facility for patients having joint replacements, we will be able to reduce the number of times they have to come in, meaning there is far less chance of their operations being delayed.
“In addition, the new facility is a modern and comfortable environment, which will hopefully mean an all-round improved experience for patients who come to us.”
Meanwhile, the plastics clinic will result in a more streamlined process for skin cancer patients, who will have a clinical consultation and a biopsy or procedure within just one visit, again improving patient experience and reducing waiting times. Plus, services delivered at Morpeth will free up outpatient and operating theatre capacity at the trust’s three general hospitals.
“The development of this facility in Morpeth also underlines our commitment to providing as much care as possible in communities across the wide area we cover,” added Mr Muller. “It will also help to reduce our environmental impact through patients having to travel to hospital fewer times and being seen closer to home.”
Arthroplasty and plastics one-stop clinics are advocated by the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) and the British Association of Plastic Surgery, while also being highlighted as part of the Department for Health and Social Care’s modernisation strategies.
The P+HS team has designed a beautiful reception and seating area, creating a comfortable and relaxed environment for patients waiting for appointments. There is a good choice of seating, more akin to a leisure facility than a clinical setting, and a sense of calm and space. Consultant rooms are generously sized too and benefit from plenty of natural light. In all Morpeth View provides reception and staff office, waiting area, nurse base, consulting rooms, clean and dirty utility, as well as storage, and a staff area with external terrace.