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Frimley Health’s Heatherwood Hospital has been awarded accreditation as part of a national scheme to ensure the highest standards in clinical and operational practice.

The scheme, run by NHS England’s Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons of England, awards hubs for providing an excellent patient experience and setting new standards in day-case surgery and innovative models of care. Heatherwood is now formally accredited with ‘surgical elective hub’ status.

Hubs like Heatherwood exclusively perform planned surgery and mainly focus on high volume, low complexity (HVLC) surgery such as orthopaedics, ophthalmology, gynaecology, and urology. GIRFT’s aim is to develop surgical hubs with the aim of improving patient flow so that patients have shorter waits for surgery, will be more likely to be able to go home on the same day, and have a better patient experience.

The announcement comes within weeks of the Heatherwood orthopaedic team performing a record-breaking 101 joint replacements in just six days in a bid to help improve efficiencies and cut waiting times for patients.

Since Heatherwood opened, the teams have performed more than 1700 joint operations and reduced the average length of stay from 3-4 days to 1.9 days and the waiting list for straightforward knee and hip replacements is now around 18 weeks. In the ophthalmology department, over 3500 cataracts operations have been carried out, reducing the waiting times to just 2-4 weeks.

Due to its successful operational performance in the last 16 months, Heatherwood is also planning to introduce other HVLC procedures into its theatres like hernia and gallbladder removal to help reduce the waiting lists for these specialities.

Dr John Seymour, deputy medical director, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “The fact that Heatherwood has been accredited just over a year after opening is a monumental achievement and recognition of the clinical and operational excellence achieved during that relatively short period.

“What I'm most proud of is that the GIRFT report cited how impressed the assessors were with the professionalism and enthusiasm of our staff. The accreditation is testament to their hard work and shows how the positive culture has been a huge contributing factor to Heatherwood's overall successful performance.”

The GIRFT assessment saw Heatherwood pass all 101 metrics required and the hospital is now one of just 16 hubs across the UK to have been accredited.