Patients and staff praise new day surgery unit at the Royal Free Hospital

11 September 2023


Patients have praised a new purpose-built day surgery unit which has just opened at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH).

John Ankin (pictured left), 32, from Tottenham, north London, said he was able to compare the old day surgery with the new one, as he had been a patient as well last week.

He said: "I was tackled playing football and unfortunately broke my finger. I came in for surgery last week but it hasn't worked as they'd hoped so I'm back again. The new space is much brighter and nicer. Because my case isn't urgent I suspect I might have to wait a while but I'm getting on with my work and it's a pleasant space to wait."

Bobby Grieve (pictured right), 42, from Enfield, said he'd had surgery recently at Barnet Hospital to remove a melanoma from his chest. Now he was back at the RFH so that a biopsy could be done to ensure the cancer hadn't spread.

He said: "No-one likes being in hospital but I'm very grateful and thankful to be being seen again so soon, the turnaround has been impressive. Today I've already seen the anaesthetist, doctors and nurses, so I know I'm being well taken care of ahead of the procedure and the space is very clean and tidy."

The new unit includes 24 beds in four bedded bays, four single rooms and a bay for six recliner chairs. It also includes a reception, waiting areas, an interview room and patient changing areas.

The investment in the new unit will provide increased capacity, enabling higher volumes of elective surgery to take place, helping the hospital tackle the growth in demand seen since the pandemic.

In addition it is planned that an adjacent ward will switch from a general surgical ward to a surgical assessment unit, in order to provide an emergency assessment area for non-elective patents. 

The unit has been made possible thanks to £4.1 million of funding made available through NHS England’s Targeted Investment Fund, designed to support schemes that promote recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pat Rubin, senior responsible officer for the project, said: “The project has involved moving 250 staff from 20 different teams to enable the unit to be built. I am very grateful to all involved for their support and co-operation over the past 18 months to make this dedicated day surgery become a reality.”

Doug Thorburn, the clinical lead for the project, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in creating this new day surgery. We are excited to offer a better experience for patients and to be able to accelerate their treatment.”

Rebecca Longmate, director of nursing for the RFH, said: “This is fantastic news for our patients. We are able to offer them an improved environment pre and post elective surgery and, importantly, this will help us to tackle the waiting lists more effectively.”