New NHS day case surgical unit at St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford

Leading healthcare construction firm Darwin Group is set to deliver a new multi-million pound surgical day case unit at St Luke’s Hospital after Bradford Council granted full planning permission.

Costing almost £19m and built using innovative offsite modular construction methods, the unit will help tackle and reduce the local backlog of patients waiting for surgery.

The day case unit will be separate to Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s main acute site at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) and will solely deliver planned surgery. This means it will provide additional resilience to the NHS in Bradford and help future-proof services for local patients.

Once operational, it will deliver up to 5,760 operations a year and will also free up capacity at BRI to enable an additional 1,200 planned surgery and day case surgery operations annually.

It will help tackle local health inequalities while promoting the best outcomes for patients and providing new employment opportunities for local people.

The planning approval announcement marks an important step forward in the development of the new day case theatres, for which funding will be provided from NHS England’s Targeted Investment Fund (TIF).

Located on the existing St Luke’s site, the unit, which is due to be operational in April 2024, will bring together skills and expertise of staff under one roof – reducing waiting times for some of the most common procedures.

It will focus mainly on providing high volume, low complexity surgery including trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery, urology, gynaecology, plastic surgery and colorectal surgery.

These operations can be performed quickly and effectively in one place, improving quality and efficiency which will mean patients have shorter waits for surgery, and will be more likely to go home on the same day.

Made up of two theatres that will run six days a week, the day case unit is separate from emergency services meaning surgical beds are kept free for patients waiting for planned operations. This reduces the risk of short-notice cancellations and improves infection control.

Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Saj Azeb, said: “Getting the green light from the planning authority sets us on our way to bringing this development to life – through both building the unit and recruiting the staff who will run it.

“It is incredibly important to make sure that local people are able to get surgery when they need it and the unit will help us deliver our vision of providing outstanding care for our communities across Bradford.

“Improving quality and efficiency will mean patients have shorter waits for surgery, leading to improved health, quality of life and ability to get back to daily activities and work.”

The new building will allow the Trust to provide a modern patient care environment. It will also help in its aim to be a champion in sustainability by using modern methods of construction and embedding new energy efficient technologies and fabrication processes.

Thanks to Darwin Group’s innovative offsite modular construction methods, the project will be delivered up to 60 per cent faster and with up to 90 per cent less waste than traditional building methods, making it one of the most efficient and sustainable options in the marketplace.

Richard Pierce, Darwin Group founder and CEO, said: “We’re proud to be working alongside Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on this project to increase vital healthcare capacity across the area.

“As specialists in offsite healthcare construction, we know that improving our NHS estates changes thousands of lives for the better – not only for the patients who are treated in them, but for the staff who work in them day in, day out. The fantastic new facilities we’re constructing will serve the people of Bradford for years to come and we’re privileged be playing our part in helping to improve health outcomes.”

At present, the Trust has no dedicated day case theatres. All surgery is carried out in the theatres on the main hospital site at BRI.

With the demand for healthcare services higher than ever, the new unit will be able to extend and expand services for the local community while also providing employment opportunities ranging from nurses to support staff including porters and cleaning services assistants.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals plays a major role within the Bradford district community and the additional capacity will allow it to provide more capacity in the local healthcare system and resilience for the local NHS.

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