Are mobile buildings the answer to Scotland's waiting list woes?

Conference hears how temporary buildings could help Scottish health boards meet government aims to slash waiting times for outpatient and inpatient services

Pictured left to right: David Cole, Andrew Ward, Kenny Oliver and Lindsay Dransfield at the meeting to discuss the impact of mobile solutions on helping to reduce waiting lists for treatment in Scotland

The potential impact of offsite construction methods on reducing waiting times across the Scottish NHS was discussed at a meeting last week.

Held at Glasgow’s Golden Jubilee Hospital and hosted by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, the event looked closely at flexible infrastructure strategies – including utilising mobile solutions – to help NHS boards across the country meet the requirements to reduce the length of time people are waiting for diagnostic and surgical procedures.

The event brought together senior estates, management and clinical professionals from across the country and was held the day after the announcement of additional funding by the Scottish Government in a bid to shorten waiting times for people receiving medical procedures.

Health boards have been allocated around £27m in initial investment as part of a £850m strategy to tackle the issue.

The Waiting Times Improvement Plan was announced in October and aims to ‘substantially and sustainably’ improve waiting times for outpatient and inpatient appointments, as well as day cases, by spring 2021.

“We have been working with health boards across Scotland for many years to use temporary infrastructure, such as mobile wards, endoscopy and theatres, as a viable and cost-effective way to create the additional capacity in both theatre and inpatient services that hospitals need

The event was opened by Lindsay Dransfield, commercial director at Q-bital, who told delegates of the long history of Q-bital working with health boards in Scotland to help them build solutions and enhance their capacity.

She said: “The Scottish Government recognises the increasing demand on the whole system of health and care and has issued an improvement plan which focuses on the length of time people are waiting for these procedures.

“We have been working with health boards across Scotland for many years to use temporary infrastructure, such as mobile wards, endoscopy and theatres, as a viable and cost-effective way to create the additional capacity in both theatre and inpatient services that hospitals need.”

Delegates also heard from Alan Ward and Kenny Oliver from Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, which has been using a Q-bital unit to boost capacity in orthopaedic and breast procedures, as well as a temporary emergency theatre, for several years.

The event was a great way to bring together professionals from health boards and the Scottish Government, as well as others working in the sector to look at what can be achieved through the use of innovative and creative solutions

And they had an opportunity to tour a unit on site at the Golden Jubilee which is used exclusively for cataract procedures and which has been in place for two years.

The unit is an example of how a mobile solution is being utilised in a real situation by clinical staff on a daily basis.

Dransfield said: “The event was a great way to bring together professionals from health boards and the Scottish Government, as well as others working in the sector to look at what can be achieved through the use of innovative and creative solutions, such as mobile and temporary units.”

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