Blog: Reflecting on 2020, hopeful for 2021

Ann Hoey, NOA Deputy Director
We’re two weeks into 2021 and England has been back in national lockdown for the majority of that time.  Orthopaedic providers, including many NOA members, are again working to support their wider systems in whatever way they can to ensure our fight against the virus is successful and that urgent orthopaedic patients continue to receive the care they need.
As waiting lists continue to rise for elective orthopaedics, the reality is that during the pandemic more patients than ever are waiting longer than they should be for orthopaedic surgery.  It is our hope that the biggest vaccination programme in the country’s history will offer some relief to this and that we will be in a better position to address the issues faced by orthopaedics sooner rather than later.
2020 showed what the community is capable of – by coming together to support our colleagues and our patients through an unprecedented situation, we have seen the importance of collaboration. In NOA’s COVID-19 webinar series we met Val Harvey, a patient who had her surgery delayed due to the pandemic. Hearing her story was even more motivation for us all to work to address the waiting lists issue and I’m pleased to learn that Val has now received her surgery. In one of NOA’s quarterly meetings during the year, we shared about the importance of wellbeing – something that is now more vital than ever for both patients and staff.

In the alliance’s workshop series, a cost improvement programmes session gave members a chance to reflect on delivering CIPs during a pandemic. Launching an Orthopaedic Quality Improvement (inc. Clinical Audit) Network (OQICAN) in December was a major step forward in the NOA being a source of support and expertise in all aspects of quality improvement and clinical audit for orthopaedics. You can read more about OQICAN and other recent updates in our latest newsletter here.
I remain hopeful that as 2021 progresses, orthopaedics and the wider NHS will be in a better position than we are now. I invite you to get in touch with the NOA on if you have any feedback or suggestions on how the alliance can continue to support the community at this time.