Plymouth NHS Trust unveils children's surgical unit
A row of medical staff in blue scrubs standing outside the new surgery unit.

Image credit: University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has opened a new dedicated children’s surgical unit.

The unit has expanded its facilities for children and families, and provides three operating theatres, a dedicated entrance and drop off area for children and young people, an admission area including spaces for children with additional needs, and a large stage recovery area so that children can be discharged home directly without needing to be admitted into the hospital.

It welcomed its first children and young people in February 2024.

The new facility is the only dedicated children’s surgical unit in the South West, outside of Bristol Children’s Hospital, and only one of two in the country.

This service provides protected theatre space for children will ensure the delivery of high-quality surgery for children in a safe environment, looked after by dedicated staff who are trained in preparing children for surgery and looking after them afterwards.

The Trust have employed a number of Paediatric Fellowship trained surgeons who are experts in their field and will be leading the unit supported by the already specialist anaesthetic and theatre staff teams.

The new unit will increase the amount of surgery in children University Hospitals Plymouth can deliver each year.

Additional operating theatre spaces will enable the unit to support the ongoing increased need for surgery for children following the pandemic, particularly Ear Nose Throat (ENT) and dental services who have seen a surge in demand.

It will support not only the recovery of children’s surgery in the Plymouth area, but also across the wider Devon and Cornwall region.

The new surgical unit is working in partnership with national NHS England teams and with Bristol Children’s Hospital to ensure every child possible from the Peninsula can have their surgery closer to home, reducing the number of patients needed to be referred to Bristol.

Consultant paediatric anaesthetist, Dr Simon Courtman said: “We are so lucky to have this fantastic facility for children and young people in the centre of the Peninsula, in Plymouth.

We are able to offer surgery to children delivered by dedicated surgical, anaesthetic, and nursing teams in a unit specifically designed for children and young people.

This will help us maintain high quality surgical services within the Peninsula and deliver it as close to home as possible for families. The extra space to do more cases every day, will benefit families in Plymouth, Devon, Cornwall and the wider SW and the teams are all committed to maximise this opportunity.”