Mobile Unit to Reduce Delays in Treatment in Orkney & Shetland

A specialist unit has opened at Gilbert Bain Hospital in Shetland.

It will allow cataract and orthopaedic joint operations to go ahead for patients who have faced delays in receiving treatment due to the pandemic and may have otherwise had to travel to the mainland for their procedure. This includes some operations that have never been performed before on the island.

Diagnostics and Elective Care Lead for NHS Shetland Dawn Smith said:

“By the end of the first two weeks of using this mobile operating theatre, we will have done the cataract activity we would normally perform in 15 months, reducing waiting times for new referrals from 18 months to under 12 weeks for most.

“This is obviously really great news for patients whose quality of life was affected by vision impairment.”

The mobile operating theatre, supported by more than £2.3 million Scottish Government funding, will enable almost 350 elective surgeries to go ahead for patients in both Orkney and Shetland.

The mobile unit will remain at Gilbert Bain Hospital till June 2022.

It is hoped that the mobile unit will deal with the backlog of people in Orkney and Shetland awaiting operations.

111 patients in Orkney and 90 patients in Shetland were waiting for opthamology procedures, while 87 patients in Orkney and 74 in Shetland have been waiting for orthopaedic surgery.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“I am pleased we have been able to support the mobile unit in Shetland to provide additional theatre and MRI capacity to give island patients essential access to treatment closer to home.

“As NHS Scotland continues to deal with the challenges of COVID-19 this is a great example of innovation and dedication to the delivery of care.”

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