Three specialist orthopaedic surgery wards that were being used for Covid patients have reopened at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Surgical teams are returning to the unit as NHS Tayside restarts services impacted by coronavirus.
Staff had been remobilised to other areas earlier in the pandemic as part of the health board’s response to the crisis, while ward 17 was being as a Covid-19 surgical unit.
The change will also allow wards 18 and 19 to reopen, making more than 70 beds across the three wards and the Major Trauma Unit available for orthopaedic patients.
Pre-pandemic activity is now beginning to resume at Ninewells Hospital, including major trauma and urgent and complex elective surgery such as reconstructions and spinal operations.
It comes after orthopaedics also restarted at Stracathro Hospital in Angus and Perth Royal Infirmary.
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Ben Clift says many patients have “waited patiently” while services have been hit by Covid.
He said: “Our teams are delighted to return to these specialist facilities and have the full orthopaedic surgical service in place again.”
Meanwhile staff are working to increase the number of procedures they can carry out and reduce the length of time people need to spend in hospital following surgery.
Professor Grant Archibald, NHS Tayside chief executive, said: “We are continuing to work through our remobilisation plan to increase activity in our hospitals and communities.
“Having the orthopaedic surgical service back in all three sites is a major milestone in our step-up plans.
‘We owe staff a lot’
“Many of our orthopaedic staff have been working in different wards and specialties to support our Covid-19 response over the past two years.
“I am very grateful to them all for the significant role they have played during a challenging time for the organisation.
“We owe them a lot.”