Major work begins as Darwin Group build new NHS surgical day case unit at St Luke’s Hospital

Major work has started at St Luke’s Hospital, in Bradford, in the delivery of a £19 million NHS surgical day case unit that will increase patient capacity.

The state-of-the-art day case unit, built by leading offsite healthcare specialist construction firm Darwin Group, will increase operations delivered by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by over 5,000 a year.

And because most day cases will move to St Luke’s, capacity will also be created to perform an additional 1,200 operations a year for normal planned surgery and day case surgery at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI).

An official breaking ground ceremony was held on Friday 1 September to mark the start of the project.

The unit will be separate to the main acute site at BRI and will solely deliver planned surgery. This means it will provide additional resilience to the NHS in Bradford and help future-proof this service for local patients.

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

Located on the existing St Luke’s site, the unit, funded by NHS England’s Targeted Investment Fund (TIF), is due to be operational in spring 2024 and 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, will be more likely to go home on the same day.

As the day case unit, made up of two theatres, is separate from emergency services, surgical beds are kept free for patients waiting for planned operations, reducing the risk of short-notice cancellations, and improving infection control.

Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals, Professor Mel Pickup, said: “It’s great to see work get underway on this fantastic purpose-built day case unit, which will mean better facilities for our patients and colleagues and help us deliver our vision of providing outstanding care for our communities across Bradford.

“It has taken a lot of hard work, effort and dedication from many people to reach this point and today’s event will mark a milestone in making the plans a reality.”

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 medical staff and nurses to support staff including porters and cleaning services assistants.

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.

Alan Davidson, Darwin Group’s director of healthcare, attended the breaking ground ceremony on behalf of the firm. He 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. It’s been great to see how excited they are about the project. 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 in the area. It’s been great to see how excited staff are about the project.”

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