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Construction begins on new £1.9m North Devon hospital ward to reduce orthopaedic waiting times

Construction has begun on a new £1.9 million ward at North Devon District Hospital, part of North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT), designed to reduce waiting times for patients receiving planned orthopaedic surgery. 

The modular ward, funded as part of NDHT’s share of £700m released by the Government within its Targeted Investment Fund (TIF) to help tackle waiting lists, will provide 10 new beds for patients receiving orthopaedic surgeries such as knee and hip operations.  

The clinical space is said to be able to be added ‘relatively quickly’ to existing hospital buildings, meaning the ward will be fully operational and open to patients in Spring 2022.  

John Palmer, Chief Operating Officer, NDHT, said of the new ward: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, our staff have done their best to continue with as much planned surgery as possible, but we have had to make difficult decisions to cancel surgery when we have high numbers of patients needing emergency care. We are very sorry for the delays caused. 

“This ward will be a dedicated space for orthopaedic surgery, which will allow us to continue with this surgery even when the hospital is busy.”

Cheryl Baldwick, Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon, and Deputy Medical Director, NDHT and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E), added: “We are delighted that the difficulties our patients face have been recognised with this significant national investment and are excited to see the building taking shape. The ward will give our orthopaedic surgery teams a fantastic space to allow us to treat 70 inpatients each month. 

“If you are waiting for orthopaedic surgery, such as a joint replacement, please know that our teams are working hard to treat you as quickly as possible. We will be offering patients surgery in order of clinical need followed by those who have been waiting longest.”