The North Bristol NHS Trust Avon Orthopaedic Centre (AOC) at Southmead Hospital Bristol is a centre of excellence in the South West.
It is the largest orthopaedic centre in the region and has an international reputation for hip and knee surgery, carrying out 1,000 knee replacements a year.
With 745 members of staff, it provides an extensive joint replacement service for both routine and complex joint replacements, in particular revision arthroplasty hips, knees, ankles and shoulders as well as upper limb surgery.
The AOC is also home to a specialist foot and ankle service recognised as a national and international base of expertise.
In addition to clinical work, the Avon Orthopaedic Centre has a strong partnership with Bristol University in researching Orthopaedic Surgery, led by Professor Ashley Blom.
Orthopaedic Spinal Surgery
The Trust’s orthopaedic spinal surgery service has changed its GP referral criteria and is currently not accepting new adult routine (non-urgent) referrals.
Nationally, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of referrals in this field, with few hospitals across the country offering this complex spinal service, combined with a shortage of experienced spinal surgeons.
As a result, at North Bristol NHS Trust this situation has led to more than 100 patients, from across the region, waiting more than 12 months for surgery which we consider to be unacceptable.
With every new additional referral, there is a risk that existing patients could get moved further down the waiting list as clinical re-prioritisation takes place.
Our first duty has to be for our patients we have already accepted onto our waiting list. The altering of our referral criteria will mean we can work through the backlog, as well as carrying out new urgent and emergency cases, with the aim of restoring the service fully within 18 months.
We believe this decision is in the best interest of our existing patients. This decision has been taken with the full support of our commissioners, who will now identify and manage alternative arrangement for the non-urgent patient referrals.