NHS Super Saturday: Caring for patients on our wait lists

4 Mar 2022, 4 p.m.

Great Ormond Street Hospital main entrance

NHS Super Saturday will be a great opportunity for us to help even more children and young people as our services continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

GOSH CEO, Mat Shaw

We know the number of people waiting for treatment has risen since the pandemic, so tomorrow we'll be hosting a variety of additional programmes, clinics, and theatre tours to help care for our patients on the waiting lists. It will be our second time joining other NHS trusts for NHS Super Saturday.

What is NHS Super Saturday?

Super Saturday is part of the National Paediatric Accelerator Programme, an initiative designed to bring together ten NHS trusts to tackle waiting lists inflated by the impact of the pandemic.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Manchester Children’s Hospital, Oxford University Hospital, Sheffield Children’s Hospital and University Hospital Southampton are also involved in this programme.

“We have some brilliant activity planned for this weekend with lots of our staff getting stuck in,” says our CEO, Mat Shaw. “It is down to their hard work and dedication that we can continue to tackle waiting times for the patients and families that rely on us, so we say a huge thank you to all the teams taking part."

Our plans for NHS Super Saturday

  • We are opening extra outpatient clinics for children across our hospital, including in haematology and oncology, dermatology, and urology.
  • We are opening extra theatre slots in gastroenterology, neurosurgery, thoracic surgery and general surgery. 
  • Our imaging teams will be running extra MRI, X-ray and ultrasound scans throughout the day.
  • Our lab, pharmacy, and theatre teams will also be running tours to show our children and young people what happens during surgeries or during sample processing, with the aim to replace their fear with curiosity.

Helping prepare patients for surgery at GOSH

A key aspect of Super Saturday is the operating theatre tour. This NHS Super Saturday, we're helping patients who have been anxious about surgery in the past or are afraid of needles by showing heart and lung transplant patients, and their families, around our theatres.

Senior operating department practitioner, Mike will be leading the tours on Saturday. He looks after our children and young people who experience anxiety around surgery or procedures. Mike works with them over time to help them feel comfortable in our hospital and have a positive experience.

“About 70% of our patient population will experience anxiety around procedures, which can often begin long before they arrive at hospital,” explains Mike.

“The beautiful thing about bringing families in for tours of the theatres for NHS Super Saturday is that it can disrupt some of these anxieties and fears, encouraging new ways of thinking and underpinning trust to help create a better hospital experience for everyone."

A calm child can be made anxious by an anxious parent so the holistic approach of showing them all around theatre as a group really works

Helping children’s anxiety around their procedures is also important for other patients because it means we can see and treat other patients on time.

The difference this support ahead of surgery makes

On our previous Super Saturday in October, Mike and the team showed five transplant patients and their families around the theatres. One of the patients was too unwell to join in person, but her family used a video call to virtually take her with them on the tour, and she could ask questions.

Thankfully, many of those children Mike supported have since had happy news. “Three of the four children who visited have had their transplants now. One of them got a transplant offer while they were still on the tour!”

If you’re joining us for Super Saturday, we’d love to hear from you. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date with the latest events across the NHS using #NHSSuperSaturday. Be sure to tag us @GreatOrmondSt.

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