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Theatre Nursing

Company Background

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust serves a local population of around 450,000 people from three hospital sites, providing a wide range of medical, surgical and rehabilitation services.

In 2021, with a backlog of urgent cases, large numbers of seriously ill Covid patients and rising levels of staff sickness, the Trust, in common with NHS trusts nationally, was forced to postpone hundreds of planned procedures. The Trust quickly enacted a recovery plan, putting on extra sessions at weekends and opening three new minor procedure rooms, but shortages of surgical nurses, ODPs and recovery staff were hampering progress. To enable full utilisation of their 17 operating theatres for a sustained period, and reduce the number of patients on waiting lists, the Trust needed extra workforce support.

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The Solution

Medacs quickly mobilised a regular supply of two theatre teams, each comprising: 

• 2x ODPs – skilled in Anaesthetics and Recovery
• 2 x Scrub Nurses - specific skills and specialisms as required

Post pandemic, nationwide efforts to tackle the massive waiting list backlog had triggered unprecedented levels of demand for theatre nurses. As a result, Medacs’ dedicated theatre nursing recruitment teams needed to work harder than ever to swiftly find and secure high quality candidates willing to sign up for long-term bookings in Dudley.

The Journey

Based on experience with Additional Capacity projects, Medacs teams also knew that the Trust would benefit most from a regular and consistent team of familiar staff who could quickly form an extension to substantive theatre teams and be trusted to work flexibly across different theatres. The initial contract length agreed was 12 weeks, but this was quickly extended and the contract remained in place for 16 months in total.

With support from Medacs, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust successfully enacted a big increase in surgical activity, with levels surpassing those prior to Covid.

The Trust has since received regional recognition for their dedicated commitment and focus for reducing the longest waits for patients in the Black Country. After successfully clearing all 104-week plus waiting patients in 2022, the Trust was placed joint first among 20 Midlands trusts in achieving elective recovery targets, and is currently on track to clear all 78-week waits by Spring 2023. 

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The Result

  • 100% of all requested shifts filled
  • Long term supply of two regular teams of theatre nurses and ODP's
  • 268 Theatre shifts covered on average per month, for 16 months, including additional supply
  • Supported Trust to meet national elective care waiting list targets

I cannot overstate how impressed I was with the service and support we had from Medacs. The calibre of staff provided, the excellent customer service and flexibility in adding in additional staff groups at short notice was absolutely amazing.

Kelly Pettifer, Deputy Director of Operations - Surgery, Women and Children


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