Mobile endoscopy unit enables first phase of trust’s diagnostics strategy


Vanguard facilities help reduce backlog at Conquest Hospital

At the end of the month, one of Vanguard Healthcare’s state-of-the-art mobile facilities will roll on site at Conquest Hospital, providing the physical capacity needed to reduce local diagnostic backlogs.

The East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which provides care to a population of over 520,000, engaged Vanguard as part of a wider campaign to improve access to endoscopy services.

The trust identified an increase, roughly year-on-year of 30%, in patient demand for diagnostic endoscopy procedures. This led to the establishment of a long-term plan to reduce existing backlogs with additional capacity before moving to a seven-day-a-week endoscopy service.

Amanda Philpott, chief officer of NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, said: “One of our priorities under the East Sussex Better Together programme is to detect and treat illnesses earlier, so we are very pleased to provide funding that will provide much more endoscopy capacity locally and allow local people to be screened swiftly.”

Vanguard’s mobile unit will offer the trust a self-contained clinical environment, complete with a reception, anaesthetic room, procedure room and six-bay recovery ward. The unit will be installed next to the hospital’s Richard Ticehurst Clinic, integrated by a custom-built walkway.

Despite being directly connected to the hospitals existing facilities, the unit will be capable of independently admitting and discharging patients.

Dr Phil Mayhead, endoscopy lead at ESHT, said: “We are pleased to be able to create this extra capacity to enable us to see more patients. This will help to bring us into a position where we can treat patients in a timely manner.

“Developing a seven-day-a-week service will be good for patients, improving the quality of service we offer and enabling us to obtain JAG accreditation on both our sites.”

As well as providing the physical capacity to enable the first stage of the trust’s strategy, Vanguard will also supply a five-person nursing team to support Conquest Hospital’s clinicians.

Vanguard Healthcare’s chief executive, Ian Gillespie, said: “The strategy which the team at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have laid out is a great example of how outside-of-the-box thinking can overcome capacity challenges.

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“This kind of pro-active policy is fantastic for the patient and the trust alike.”