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North west London’s four acute trusts are seeking to capitalise on the concept of “fast-track” surgical hubs as they explore setting up a new elective orthopaedic centre.

Leaders for Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, Hillingdon and London North West are looking at a more “strategic, large-scale” approach to improve the region’s capacity for more high-volume, low-complexity work.

A report to Imperial’s board last week warned that, without “further intervention,” the number of patients waiting for orthopaedic surgery in the region could increase to just under a fifth by 2030.

That is from a current position of 12,000 people who need inpatient or outpatient care.

Central Middlesex Hospital, which is run by London North West University Healthcare Trust, is being eyed as the preferred location for the new centre.

A full business case will be sent to London North West’s board later this year for approval, but leaders are hopeful the centre can be opened before the end of the next calendar year.

The report to Imperial’s board praised South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre, run by Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, as a “well-established example”.

In short: if they can do it, why can’t others?

Office politics

A failure to consult seems to be responsible for a situation that has left hundreds of staff at a commissioning support unit in limbo.

Around 900 staff at North East London CSU were due to be transferred to new employers at the end of this month but instead face a further delay.

HSJ understands the NHS England and Improvement London region failed to properly consult over the availability of offices, and objections to this mean it has had to halt the consultation.

NEL CSU ceased to exist at the end of October, and 900 of its staff have since been employed by London Shared Services, part of the London region. The other 400 staff had already transferred to a different CSU.

They were due to transfer again at the end of March, split between London’s five clinical commissioning groups (to then be transferred again into respective integrated care boards, once these are formed); the NHSE/I London team; and the Royal Free London Foundation Trust’s recently launched partnership organisation.

A source said the consultation had faltered over a failure of NHSE/I to properly consult other organisations involved over where the staff would have access to office working. 

Also on today

In The Download, Nick Carding reveals the five words that new NHS Digital boss Tim Ferris is hoping will fire up those in charge of transforming NHS tech, and in a comment piece, Jacob Lant argues that language support is a crucial part of the UK’s commitment to helping refugees from Ukraine.