Trust successfully managing the backlog of planned operations caused by COVID-19

A Teesside health trust is making successful headway through a backlog of planned operations caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Patient and clinical staff stood in waiting room in orthopaedic outpatientsLike all health trusts across the country, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust postponed all elective surgery for several months as it responded to the pandemic.

Elective care has been back underway for several weeks now – with patients like Megan Richardson benefitting after recently having surgery.

Megan had successful ankle surgery after the outbreak first started but needed a further procedure to treat ongoing issues with her ankle stability due to suffering from severe hypermobility.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Rajiv Limaye and surgical care practitioner Beth Alderton have led her surgery and treatment with support from the wider team.

Megan, who was at the start of her student nurse training at the University of Sunderland when she was told the news, said: “I was quite upset at the prospect of having to have surgery for a second time and how this would affect my studies.

“But the team have ensured I was able to have the surgery, still complete my studies and be healed in time for the start of my nurse placement.

“I am so thankful for everything the team have done for me.”

Surgery, carried out at the organisation’s centre for non-urgent surgery at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, involved ankle ligament reconstruction and an augmentation using an internal brace technique.

Megan’s first surgery involved a similar procedure but – due to her hypermobility – this resulted in an injury to the lateral ligaments, making her ankle unstable.

The team discussed using an internal brace as an augmentation during her revision surgery to provide extra stability to the ankle.

Mr Limaye, who specialises in foot and ankle surgery, said: “We are delighted to be able to help patients like Megan, whose surgery was a complete success – leading to a rapid recovery post-operatively so she can now resume her nursing studies.

“Any issue affecting joints really can affect ​people’s lives. It’s so important we returned elective surgery as soon as we possibly could so we could continue to serve our local population who have been patiently waiting due to pandemic.

“We are pleased to be rapidly working our way through the backlog of operations and to be able to treat patients who waited several months for their surgery.”

Beth added: “We are so pleased to be helping patients once more and our patients are pleased to see us.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging period – but the return of our elective services has been something we and our patients are so grateful for.”


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