A new theatre is being built at a city hospital to keep up with increased demand for surgery.
Bets Welman, executive director of Albyn Hospital, says rising numbers of patients are now requiring fast access for treatments.
And medics are now working every day of the week to catch up with a backlog of patients at the facility.
Like all other hospitals, staff faced restrictions with only emergency procedures allowed to be carried out during the start of the pandemic.
The new theatre is part of an ambitious £8m renovation project currently underway at the hospital.
There will be four operating theatres in the building when the construction work is complete.
Albyn Hospital expansion: How will it benefit patients?
The first phase has just been completed in the imaging department with fully digital equipment installed.
The new equipment will give radiologists a clearer picture of their patients’ medical conditions.
There are also plans to bring in a new CT scanner later in the year with enhanced technology giving more in-depth cardiac investigations.
This will reduce the need for some patients to undergo invasive procedures to check their valves and arteries for signs of heart disease.
Meanwhile a minor procedure room has been created in the imaging department which will help free up more slots in main theatres.
Smaller procedures such as carpal tunnel release or the removal of skin lesions can now be treated in the smaller theatre instead.
“This facility is a fully equipped minor theatre which is ideal for day procedures carried out under local anaesthetic or sedation,” Bets explains.
“Patients can walk in and walk out for the appropriate procedures, or alternatively, stay a few hours in the comfort of a private day case room as part of their recovery.”
Bets highlights that staff are keen to make services more convenient for people looking for a quick hospital stay and less time away from their busy home or work life.
“It also frees up space in our main theatre facilities where these procedures would have previously been undertaken which ultimately speeds up the waiting time for inpatient procedures,” she added.
Three new en-suite patient bedrooms will also be created along with seven patient day case rooms.
Can you just book yourself in for a CT scan?
More than 8,000 patients a year receive treatment at the hospital with 40% of its work relating to orthopaedic patients.
Many of these patients are booked in for hip and knee replacements.
And patients requiring general surgery for the the likes of gall bladder problems and hernias are also coming through the hospital doors.
A wide range of tests and health checks are available at the hospital, which is part of the Circle Health Group.
However, some diagnostic tests, such as CT scans can only be referred by a patient’s GP due to strict national regulations.
Will they need more staff?
Bets says more staff will be working at the hospital once the Albyn Hospital expansion is complete.
“We are proud to be a part of the community in Aberdeen and to support patients, clinicians and practitioners locally and further afield,” she says.
“The current expansion project will create the opportunity for long waiting new consultants to join our team and patients to access private healthcare quicker and reduce waiting times for their procedures.”