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QEH Resumes Joint Replacement Programme

On Thursday, November 16, the Joint Replacement Programme at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was officially restarted. This comes approximately 10 years after the programme was curtailed due to financial constraints.

Three patients are scheduled to receive knee replacement surgeries within the first week of the programme’s recommencement. The first, a female patient, received a total knee replacement of the left knee joint on Wednesday, November 16. A second knee replacement surgery took place on Thursday, November 17, and the third remaining surgery will be performed on Monday, November, 21.

In a statement on the restart of the programme, Dr. Christine Greenidge, Chief Operations Officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital said “we were focused on resuming this service to our public patients in our country. It took full committed passion by our interdisciplinary teams to be able to achieve this milestone. Our next phase is to resume hip replacements before the end of this year and to continue these surgeries as routine bookings in 2023.”

Commending the hospital’s management team and orthopaedic staff on the re-start of the programme, Dr. Sonia Browne, Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness with responsibility for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital assured the public that additional resources had been put in place to address the backlog of cases.

She also indicated that phase two of the programme would involve the resumption of hip replacement surgeries, scheduled to begin in late November.

In a statement on the restart of the programme, Mrs. Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, the hospital’s Executive Chairman stated “We pride ourselves on responsiveness to the public and this was a big gap that appeared insurmountable for over 10 years.” She continued “the mandate to restart Hip and Knee Surgery came from the highest level of Government and Minister Sonia Browne is to be commended for selecting this as a priority area to champion with us. Prime Minister Mottley and Minister Walcott follow developments closely and asked me to extend their congratulations to the surgeons, nurses and OR teams and all involved in reaching this milestone.”

In an examination of the processes Bynoe-Sutherland shared “We looked at similar programmes in Trinidad and Guyana, spoke to hospitals there and identified the lessons to be learnt. We built consensus among each of our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons who worked cohesively as a department every step of the way spearheaded by the Acting Director of Medical Services, Dr. Chaynie Williams.” She continued, “We identified a partner in Bryden pi willing to pilot with us to help us gauge the full cost and technical requirements to add a new service to our suite of existing orthopaedic services.”

Addressing the 10-year pause in the provision of this service, Bynoe-Sutherland acknowledged that the restart of the programme was the result of “hard work, strategic planning and clinical leadership and commitment.”

She noted “We expanded our surgical team and started rebuilding our list of patients. We engaged our newly established Bed Management and Pre-Anaesthetic clinic to ensure identified patients were ready and optimized for surgery and ensured our Rehabilitation Department was ready to start immediate post-operative physiotherapy interventions as is the gold standard.”

Bynoe-Sutherland also credited Chief Operations Officer, Christine Greenidge whom she indicated had been strategically focused on improving Operating Theatre performance and did the leg work necessary to ensure the cases and the pilot worked seamlessly. She also expressed pride at the team effort and care required to bring the start of the hospital’s joint replacement programme to fruition.

The Executive Chairman concluded her statement by assuring the public that the QEH is focused on “long-term sustainability and never ever again allowing this programme to be unavailable to public patients.” She indicated “we need to ensure equitable access to a package of hospital services that included hip and knee replacement for public patients. We are therefore putting in place for the long term the requisite levels of trained junior doctors, operating room nurses, surgical technicians, operating room equipment, sterilization modalities, medicines, consumables, rehab teams and effective procurement and finance strategies for consignment of world class surgical implants.” Bynoe-Sutherland ended by commending the patients “for their perseverance and belief in the QEH to meet their needs,” and promised to support them in their recovery.

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