The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) has announced the opening of the new Trauma and Orthopaedics Ward at Altnagelvin Hospital - nine months after a fire at the hospital forced the closure of the existing orthopaedics ward on the eighth floor.
Cathy Glass, Western Trust Nursing Services Manager for Trauma and Orthopaedics, explained that the fire, and associated flooding damage,meant that orthopaedics had to move to a temporary location within the hospital and that the capacity to deliver orthopaedic surgery was greatly reduced.
“Orthopaedics staff have worked hard in their interim surroundings to continue to provide excellent care to their patients at Altnagelvin,” she said.
The Trust acknowledges that as a result of the reduced capacity at Altnagelvin some patients have had to wait longer than originally anticipated for surgery. In order to ensure minimum impact on service, the Trust supported by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) provided additional orthopaedic capacity through the Independent Sector - which the Trust say they will continue to use for the coming months to restore waiting times to target levels.
The Trauma and Orthopaedics Department treats approximately 3558 people every year. The majority of Trauma patients are treated for injuries relating to trips, slips and falls. Staff in the unit are very pleased to be able to now treat an increased number of patients waiting for elective Orthopaedic surgery, such as joint replacements.
Cathy Glass added “There has been significant investment and tremendous efforts by Trust staff and we are delighted to be back in a newly- refurbished ward”.