URGENT elective orthopaedic treatments are set to resume for some patients in Gwent from next month as part of the health board's wider plans for the restart of non-emergency operations.

With fewer coronavirus patients being treated in Gwent hospitals, many routine services that were put on hold back in the spring - leaving thousands of patients on suspended waiting lists - are starting up again.

The aim in orthopaedics is to resume urgent elective arthroplasty (hip and knee joint reconstruction or replacement) and spinal treatments, and urgent elective orthoapedic procedures for children in September, with these taking place at Nevill Hall Hospital.

No restart date has yet been set for urgent elective hand, foot and or shoulder operations.

Urgent elective orthopaedic outpatient appointments for patients with hip and knee, spinal, hand, foot and shoulder problems will also resume by the end of August, along with those for children. These will take place mainly at St Woolos Hospital in Newport and Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale.

But elective outpatient clinics for patients whose hip and knee, spinal, hand, foot and shoulder problems are currently deemed routine have not yet been reinstated. this also applies to routine children's orthopaedic problems.

Elective pre-admission clinics have yet to be given a restart date too, along with complex sub-specialty clinics, spinal and knee triage, and day case spinal injections.


Orthopaedics has traditionally been the specialty with the longest treatment waiting times in Gwent, and the coronavirus-imposed shutdown of all non-emergency surgery means a huge backlog of cases has built up.

But this is true for other specialties too, and the task facing Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, and other health board across Wales - and NHS bodies across the UK - is how to gradually reintroduce elective services while maintaining patient and staff safety.

Capacity issues, given the need to maintain strict separation between coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients, will be a major factor, and there is also the need to plan for a busy winter that will come with the possibility of a second wave of the virus that would set demand for beds rising again.

A limited number of non-emergency general surgery procedures resumed in Gwent hospitals in June, and plans resuming other procedures are being reviewed. These include: All routine patients across all sub-specialties; all non-cancer surgery aside from that which has already resumed; all varicose vein patients; carotid surgery; endovascular aneurysm repair and sealing; routine endocrine surgery; routine breast surgery.

More details on plan to restart elective work in these and more than 30 other services are available on the health board's website at https://abuhb.nhs.wales/restarting-services/restarting-services/