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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 13 March 2024

Green light given to increase NHS patient capacity at Sulis Hospital, Bath

Sulis Hospital, Bath will soon be able to perform an additional 3,750 non-emergency, orthopaedic operations for NHS patients each year, following a successful planning application submitted by Royal United Hospital, Bath.

Main entrance of Sulis Hospital Bath

The plans, which were approved by B&NES Council on Wednesday 6 March, will see a new wing built at Sulis Hospital, a fully operational independent hospital owned by the RUH that treats both NHS and private patients. The RUH acquired the former Circle Bath hospital in June 2021, with the main objective of securing additional elective capacity for NHS patients in Bath and the South West.

Situated at Sulis Hospital in Peasedown St John, just outside of Bath, the new Sulis Elective Orthopaedic Centre (SEOC) will act as an NHS elective surgery hub; it will serve NHS patients from across the South West, helping to tackle the region's backlog of elective, non-emergency surgery. It will also create up to 100 new jobs for the area.

The new development, which has secured £25m in national NHS funding, will be a centre of excellence, working to national best-practice standards and providing high-quality care. The plans include:

  • Two additional modular theatres
  • Additional inpatient capacity
  • Seven extra day case pods
  • Conversion of two existing theatres to laminar flow theatres, providing a work area with sterile conditions and the very highest standards of cleanliness.

Surgery at the site will be protected from disruption and cancellations caused by surges in emergency hospital admissions because Sulis does not have an emergency department. This means that the SEOC will enhance the resilience of services into the future.

Around 60% of capacity will be used to carry out elective orthopaedic procedures that would otherwise be managed at the RUH's main Combe Park site, with the remaining 40% available to support the wider region's NHS elective recovery programme and future growth in demand projected to arise from the ageing population in Bath and the South West.

Cara Charles-Barks, RUH Chief Executive, said: "This is a landmark step forward in our Trust strategy, which sets out our plans to develop and transform our services in response to current healthcare challenges.

"This will have a hugely positive impact on the people we care for across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and the wider region and I am looking forward to seeing the project break ground."

Simon Milner, Hospital Director Sulis Hospital, comments: "This milestone enables us to continue offering exceptional healthcare to the wider community. Over the next six months, recruitment will play a pivotal role as we expand our clinical teams and support services. Our agile approach means we can meet the growing demand for NHS healthcare whilst maintaining and growing our private practice. Continuous investment in facilities and technology ensures high standards of patient-centred care."

Gill May, Chief Nurse, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: "Our teams on the frontline, along with those working equally hard behind-the-scenes, are committed to ensuring that local people can get the care they need as quickly as possible, and the addition of this new centre will not only support them to do exactly that, but also help to offset some of the unfortunate delays that have been caused in recent times by the pandemic, industrial action and general increases in demand."

Construction on SEOC will be completed in late 2024.

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