Kat Lay, Health reported for The Times, recently visited St George’s surgical ‘super-hub’ at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton.

The surgical hub is ringfenced to perform high volume, low complexity cases which allows the main site at St George’s to do high complexity, emergency, tertiary and specialist surgery.

The surgical hub was constructed in under four months and started treating patients in June 2021. Since opening, it has undertaken more than 7,000 operations.

The vast majority of hospitals have struggled to get back to the same number of operations they were carrying out pre-pandemic, partly because of flu, Covid and staff shortages. It is also believed to be because patients are often sicker.

Shamim Umarji, Clinical Director for Surgery at St George’s, spoke on how important it is that patients waiting for elective procedures get the protected space of surgical hubs, she said:

“While it’s not a cancer or a heart attack, to that patient, it has a massive impact on their activities of daily living. Being constantly in pain, not being able to get on with their lives, not being able to do their jobs, not being able to be carers for their children or grandchildren,” she says. “Those are, I would say, the hidden victims of the pandemic.”

“We are not doing cosmetic surgery . . . the operations we do, our patients need.”

The hub feels much bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside. It contains large operating theatres, a waiting room, consulting rooms, a recovery area and space for teams to recharge, change and shower.

The surgical hub treats around 600 patients a month and it is helping — St George’s waiting lists are shorter than the national average and the Trust on track to meet NHS England’s target to eliminate waits of more than a year and a half by March.

Plastic Consultant Drew Fleming’s patient Pauline Moran was having a ganglion cyst removed from her thumb. Her wait for surgery has been relatively short. She was referred to hand surgeons only in November.

The hub provides extra capacity not just for the surgeons of St George’s but also for teams from elsewhere in London. On the day of the visit from The Times, cataract surgeries were being performed by a surgeon from Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The hub also increases the number of theatres and recovery beds for patients available at our main St George’s site.

You can read Kat Lay’s full piece on the benefits our surgical hub brings to the Trust and wider NHS in The Times.