NHS in north central London agrees to create two new centres for planned orthopaedic surgery

Following a meeting of the governing body of North Central London CCG on 24 September, the NHS in north central London has agreed a plan to set up two new centres for planned orthopaedic operations – such as hip and knee replacements – for local patients. 


The plan drew on national and international evidence, which shows that separating planned care from emergency care can significantly improve quality and patient experience. It also aims to minimise last-minute cancellations and help to tackle waiting lists; something made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two partnerships for orthopaedic surgery have been formed by local NHS Trusts: UCLH and Whittington Health will work together to provide inpatient and day surgery across the partnership. North Middlesex University Hospital will work with the Royal Free London, with inpatient surgery at Chase Farm and day surgery at both sites. Outpatient appointments and joint school will also happen across these hospitals.

Patients will have a choice between the two partnerships, which will be responsible for the majority of planned routine orthopaedic surgery for patients living in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington and some neighbouring areas.   A network of orthopaedic experts from across all hospitals will work together to implement ongoing improvements for patients and ensure patients have a high-quality, consistent experience wherever they have their care.

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) will continue to work as part of the network, performing super-specialist orthopaedic surgery.

The UCLH facility will be hosted in a new building on Grafton Way, just off Tottenham Court Road, with construction due to complete later this year. The day treatment centre at the Whittington Hospital will host day surgery. The new Chase Farm Hospital was completed in 2018 and the addition of the orthopaedic centre takes advantage of the state-of-the-art facilities already in place.  North Middlesex University Hospital will continue to offer care in their theatres.

These centres will be separated from emergency departments, preventing the last-minute cancellations that have occurred in the past, when planned operations had to be cancelled due to emergencies.  Each will run alongside high-dependency units for patients who may need additional medical support. Emergency orthopaedic care services will remain unchanged. 

The decision follows a 12-week public consultation which took place in Spring 2020. The proposals were broadly supported by local people, who agreed that the proposed changes would help to tackle waiting lists and minimise cancellations. It is planned that the centres will offer their first operations in early 2021 and the detail of how they work will incorporate feedback received during the consultation exercise.


The Decision Making Business Case (DMBC) outlines the basis on which a final decision was made.  Completed on 17 September 2020.

Papers for the NCL CCG decision-making meeting on 24 September 2020.

Presentation given to the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 4 September 2020.

Papers from the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 4 September 2020.  There is also a recording of this meeting

Letter from the  Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 4 September 2020 with their comments on the proposals. 

The Mayor of London’s final response to the proposals is available to read on the GLA website.

Further information on the review, including responses to the consultation.

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