• Orthopaedic operations will move from Ashford to Canterbury
  • In the first six months of 2018, the trust cancelled 359 planned operations
  • Some capacity in private wing at Thanet will also be used 

A Kent trust which cancelled hundreds of operations earlier this year is moving elective work to a new site in an attempt to avoid cancellations this winter.

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust will move planned orthopaedic operations from the William Harvey Hospital, in Ashford to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, in Canterbury at a distance of 15 miles.

The trust also plans to make use of spare capacity in its private wing at the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Hospital, in Thanet to continue planned surgery there without affecting its ability to admit emergency patients. The trust said it did not expect this to affect the private patients service or the income from this.

In the first six months of 2018, the trust cancelled 359 planned operations – the highest number in the south east. It has also seen a growth in demand for planned orthopaedic inpatient surgery, which is putting pressure on waiting lists.

The initial work – which should be completed in time for the winter – will see day surgery theatres and dedicated beds for orthopaedics at the Kent and Canterbury, with two temporary theatres set up to enable day case work to continue. The trust is also planning to use extra theatre capacity to reduce the number of people waiting over a year for an operation in gynaecology and ophthalmology, and to meet cancer targets.

In the longer term, it is aiming to get national funding for four new theatres at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital which would enable it to centralise elective orthopaedics there by the end of 2019, as part of the Getting it Right First Time programme. However, the location of its elective orthopaedic services is expected to be the subject of public consultation early next year.

Chief executive Susan Acott said: “Evidence shows that dedicated facilities for trauma and separate decided facilities for planned orthopaedic inpatient surgery improve the outcomes and experiences for both sets of patients.”