A project to provide additional capacity for endoscopy procedures is reducing waiting lists and helping patients receive essential care in Greater Manchester.

Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, The Greater Manchester Elective Reform Programme and 18 Week Support developed the project to create a dual procedure endoscopy suite at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury.

Asia Bibi, Programme Manager at the Greater Manchester Elective Reform Programme, who has been overseeing the project, said: “A number of NHS partners have been working together to support the recovery of services as a region and this is one of the first projects to provide access for all regional patients. I am pleased at the pace we have been able to set this up in order to restore services for our patients.”

The unit has been specifically commissioned by Greater Manchester Provider Federation Board to support the delivery of endoscopy services across Greater Manchester following the Covid-19 pandemic disruption.

To fit the specific needs of the Northern Care Alliance, the unit has been designed with a Vanguard mobile laminar flow theatre, two procedure rooms, a six-bed recovery bay, two consultation rooms and full staff and patient facilities.

Vanguard have also provided a unit facilitator, while 18 Week Support have provided eight specialist endoscopy nurses and two clinical consultants to deliver all patient endoscopy procedures and keep the unit fully operational seven days a week.

Simon Conroy, National Endoscopy Sales Manager at Vanguard, said: “Feedback from patients and staff at the unit has been incredibly positive.”

“Many of the patients the unit is seeing are having surveillance procedures and are, of course, very relieved and grateful to have their appointments. Staff tell us it’s a light, bright, spacious and well-equipped environment to work in and even that the unit provides more spacious than standard endoscopy procedure rooms and recovery areas.”

Matt Marshall of 18 Week Support said: “This is an innovative project which is helping the Trust significantly increase the number of their patients that are seen by specialist clinicians, delivering significant reductions in waiting lists and improving health outcomes. The patient feedback we have had has been excellent, with patients telling us the treatment and care they have received has been overwhelmingly ‘very good’.”