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					                             NEWS RELEASE

12 December 2007                                                 184/2007

           Year long operation waits cut to just 39 days

Waits of several years for NHS joint replacement surgery are a thing of the
past at hospitals in Chorley and Preston which have slashed times to an
average of just 39 days.

In 2006, Department of Health figures revealed that almost a quarter of
patients needing operations such as hip or knee replacements waited
between one and two years for surgery and a small number waited longer
than this.

Staff in the Orthopaedic Department at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS
Foundation, which runs Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and Royal Preston
Hospital, have overhauled the service in the past year to reduce waiting times.

The Department is on course to perform 1,100 hip and knee replacements in
2007, which is the second largest number of any NHS Trust in the North
West.

In November 2007, 79 hip and knee replacements were performed. The
average time from a patient being assessed in the outpatient department to
having their surgery was 39 days. Only four patients waited more than three
months for their operation.

Waiting times are set to fall further in the coming weeks with the majority of
patients waiting no more than four weeks from the time of their outpatient
appointment to surgery.

Mr George McLauchlan, Clinical Director for Orthopaedics and
Rheumatology, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“This is excellent news for the patients of Central Lancashire and could not
have been achieved without the dedication of all the outpatient, ward, support
services and theatre staff. Many have been working extra evening and
weekend sessions to get to where we are now.




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“It is a new situation for patients, many of whom are surprised when told how
short the waiting time is. It does mean that any patient referred in for a
decision about surgery should be prepared for the operation to be performed
quickly.

“We must continue the good work especially with the competition from other
providers such as Capio. However, having some of the lowest waiting times,
combined with the new Assessment and Treatment Centre for outpatients
coming in next year, I believe the future for orthopaedics at Lancashire
Teaching Hospitals is a bright one.”

Tony Curtis, Chief Executive, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation
Trust, said: “This is a marvellous achievement and proof that with the right
investment, the NHS can provide a fast, efficient and safe service to improve
people’s quality of life.”

“I would like to congratulate our staff for their continued efforts in improving
services and providing quicker access to care and treatment.”

                                      -ends-

Notes to Editors: For further information please call Press and PR
Officer Craig Noonan on 01772 522727.

				
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