West Cumberland Hospital’s theatre operating suite showcases an abundance of surgical procedures week in, week out in state of the art theatres.
The teams run six elective operating theatres Monday to Friday. In addition to a dedicated Maternity theatre, the West Cumberland site sees surgeons in a range of specialities visit our suites to operate on patients including Urology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Ophthalmology, Gynaecology, Orthopaedics, Vascular, Upper GI, General Surgery and Colorectal.
Our theatre department also supports dental patients who require a general anaesthetic and cardiology patients for cardiovascular procedures. We also have local anaesthetic operating sessions to support vascular patient procedures as well as pain management consultants undertaking local anaesthetic operating sessions for those under the pain service. These happen regularly and are all routinely scheduled as part of our theatre programme.
Our services are delivered by a multitude of surgical specialties and operating surgeons who work between both of the Trust’s acute Hospital sites – the Cumberland Infirmary at Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. A large proportion of our consultant surgeons and their teams operate within both theatre departments, meaning we regularly list patients from across the County on either of our sites.
Breast surgery however only takes place at West Cumberland Hospital with Associate Medical Director and Consultant Breast Surgeon Mr Ioannis Michalakis and his Consultant Breast Surgeon colleagues doing all their operations in Whitehaven. All of our breast service patients who require surgical procedures visit our theatre suites at the West Cumberland, including all of those on a cancer pathway.
The type of breast surgery performed at West Cumberland is pioneering, with Mr Michalakis, leading the way with innovative operating techniques to improve patient outcomes. This service is delivered exclusively from the West Cumberland Hospital site and is a great example of the broad range of surgical services this site delivers on a regular basis.
As with all NHS providers, our Trust is actively engaging in an elective recovery program as we reduce the waiting lists built up in recent years, and speed up the time it takes our patients to receive the care they need. To do this, the organisation is committed to maximising the theatre capacity at West Cumberland Hospital to its full potential, taking advantage of the modern and slick theatre environment which was purposely built to improve patient experience and flow.
Since last year, the Trust now carry out surgery seven days per week. This means that the West Cumberland Hospital is now offering increased theatre sessions on Saturdays and Sundays to support a reduction in operating waiting lists and increasing the opportunities we have to deliver an expanded schedule.
Danny Batten, Associate Director of Operations for the Surgical, Critical Care & Clinical Support Care Group, explains that making full use of the West Cumberland Hospital site is the best way to reduce waiting times and maximise our capacity, whilst also ensuring patients can receive the surgical interventions they need without travelling to Carlisle, where possible:
“West Cumberland Hospital is a fantastic modern facility for elective operating, with excellent and skilled staff delivering patient care. We aim to maximise the elective operating at West Cumberland Hospital for patients from across North Cumbria to reduce our waiting times for all patients.”
The theatre nursing teams are highly experienced skilled practitioners who work with a wide range of specialists and consultant surgeons each week – delivering the best possible care for all of our patients who visit our West Cumberland theatre suites. Not only do the nursing staff support planned operating as part of the elective schedule, but nearly all of our theatre nursing and anaesthetic teams respond to maternity emergencies on the site, 24/7.
The emergency theatre team can be called at any point out of hours and will respond to maternity and A&E emergencies instantly. The team support routine elective caesarean sections, twice a week, every week, alongside the midwifery team and are regularly called to assist with more complex and unplanned births.
Delivering such vital, dynamic and responsive care is all part of the theatre teams role and the West Cumberland Hospital’s theatre team are integral in allowing the safe operating for all our surgical services to flourish on the site. With over 12 different types of surgical specialties scheduled to operate on the site each week, the theatre service is go, go, go.