THE trust behind a shake-up of surgery services provided at Winchester hospital say that patients with broken bones will be able to be treated sooner thanks to the transformation.

Changes to orthopaedics at Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT), which manages Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH), were implemented on December 4 and the organisation says it will be able to carry out emergency surgery seven days a week.

A spokesperson said that there will be fewer delays, quicker recovery and improved outcomes for patients.

The move is also expected to significantly reduce the number of patients, whose planned operations are postponed due to emergencies, meaning shorter waiting times.

However, as previously reported in the Echo fears have already been raised by staff members regarding job losses and patient safety.

Julie Maskery, chief operating officer said that in replacement of orthopaedics a centre of excellence for hip and knee replacement surgeries will be developed at Winchester hospital.

She continued: “We are delighted to be testing this new service model for trauma and orthopaedic care, which incorporates the very latest thinking and will enable us to provide the best possible care for all of our patients.

“In order to provide emergency surgery seven days a week, we have taken the decision to move all emergency orthopaedic surgery to Basingstoke hospital. We took this decision after a careful review of the clinical evidence and in consultation with our frontline staff. All of the evidence suggests that it is the right thing to do for our patients.

“Patients who may need emergency surgery are taken directly to Basingstoke hospital by ambulance. We also have a dedicated ambulance available to transfer patients who self-present at Winchester so nobody will face an extended journey without full medical support. However, where it is assessed as safe, patients are able to make their own arrangements if they prefer.

“Concurrently we are creating a centre of excellence for hip and knee replacement surgery at Winchester hospital, building on the outstanding work that is already delivered there and ensuring the best possible care for all patients who require this treatment. It will also help to ensure that fewer planned operations are cancelled to make way for emergency surgery, bringing down waiting times.”

All other orthopaedic surgery will continue to be carried out at both hospitals, and the trust has said that staff at both sites have been fully engaged and consulted throughout the process, with no redundancies being made as a result of the changes.

The trust has also worked closely with Hampshire County Council and has been collecting feedback from affected patients since December 4, when testing the new system began.