New £15 million Orthopaedic Surgery Centre draws a final step closer to welcoming its first patients next week

The Mexborough Elective Orthopaedic Centre of Excellence (MEOC) is in the final stages of preparation before it admits the first patients to the service later this month.

Richard Parker and Dr Richard Jenkins holding a ribbon as it is cut

Despite challenges posed over the Christmas and New Year period, the facility’s first surgical operations are set to commence from Monday 15 January 2024.

The MEOC is part of a national initiative to reduce waiting lists, and will be one of two orthopaedic surgical hubs sponsored by the South Yorkshire Integrated Care System (ICS). The project was delivered following investment of just under £15 million, with construction beginning in July and completed in December 2023.

The service will operate 50 weeks a year, starting as a five day a week service, increasing to six days once running to full capacity, expected by mid-2024. It is anticipated that knee and hip replacement patients will be able to go home the same day as their surgery, in line with national best practices.

Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive at DBTH, said: “The MEOC will make a huge difference for those patients who require orthopaedic surgery. The service will help to not only reduce waiting lists for orthopaedic treatment in the locality, but also reduce health inequalities, as the South Yorkshire area it serves sits within one of the most deprived areas in the country.”

The centre, which is a collaboration between three hospital trusts, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH), Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (BH), and The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT), will focus exclusively on procedures such as hand and wrist surgeries, foot and ankle treatments, arm and shoulder procedures, carpals, and knee and hip replacement.

Its location at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough, ensures that it will remain protected from the typical disruptions experienced by general hospitals, particularly emergency treatment pressures and heightened activity during the colder months.

The exterior of the centre has received its finishing touches, with landscaping and pathways completed. Specialist equipment, including a C-Arm—an advanced medical imaging device based on X-ray technology—have been successfully delivered and installed in the theatres and in other areas within the centre. Additionally, stocks of medical supplies are in place, ready for upcoming procedures.

Additionally, both medical and clerical staff have undergone selection and induction, receiving training in the specific processes and protocols associated with the service.

On Friday 5 January, a number of visitors, including governors and non-executive directors from all three trusts, toured the new department. Surgeons from each Trust have visited the service and other clinicians from Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Representatives from BBC Sheffield Radio toured the department, interviewing those involved in the implementation of the project and subsequent delivery, to be featured in a radio show scheduled to air live on BBC Sheffield radio on its first day of operation.

Richard Jenkins, Chief Executive at BH and TRFT, said: “All trusts involved in this project are rightly proud of what has been achieved, together we are capable of providing a service that will be a beacon of excellence, ensuring high quality orthopaedic care for local people.”

Find out more about the MEOC, including previous news stories and a walkthrough video of the department, can head over to the dedicated section on the DBTH website.