State of the art orthopaedic centre moves a step closer

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Fife Health Board approved the business case for a £33 million orthopaedic centre in Kirkcaldy when it met this week and the proposal has now been sent to the Scottish Government for approval. The centre will serve patients in need of elective procedures such as hip and knee replacements

Fife’s orthopaedic theatres are running at 100% capacity and over the next 15 years demand for surgery is expected to increase by a third. “A realistic percentage for session availability is considered to be 85%,” said the report by NHS Fife project director Alan Wilson. The purpose-built centre would increase the number of orthopaedic theatres from two to three.

Designed to accommodate services currently housed in the 60s tower block at Victoria Hospital and Queen Margaret Hospital, the unit is expected to be up and running at the hospital site in March 2022, with construction to start in October next year.

NHS Fife Chief Executive Paul Hawkins said it was “one of the exciting parts of the Health Board’s work” and Vice Chairman Les Bisset added that the centre would include improved measures for infection control. Non-executive Board member Rona Laing added: “I’m really impressed with the level of work that has been taken, particularly the level of scrutiny around this to make sure they get it right.”

Existing theatres at Victoria were described in the outline business case as “no longer suitable or compliant in terms of current technical guidance in respect to size”, and working across two sites “means there are expected inefficiencies and inconsistency in how some parts of the service is delivered. Clinical time is also lost in asking clinical staff to travel between facilities during the working day.”

The Board was told investing in the new centre was “a key priority for NHS Fife, to safeguard the provision of a high performing, essential clinical service over the longer term.”

In his report, Mr Wilson said: “The preferred option will provide the board with an opportunity to plan for the future, ensuring that the service is robust enough to offer the necessary supply to meet the projected local future demand and to provide a safe, effective and person-centred orthopaedic service. Options that were rejected included refurbishing existing facilities at a cost of around £12m and a modular new-build, which would have cost in the region of £44m.

“In addition, the preferred option will contribute towards decanting clinical services from within the tower block at Victoria Hospital unlocking future options within the context of the site masterplan.”

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