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Three new operating theatres for county

PUBLISHED: 20:15 20 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:30 03 March 2010

THREE new operating theatres are to be built in Suffolk, the government has announced.

A massive £5 million investment will build them within a new diagnostic and treatment centre at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

By Tracey Sparling

health and education editor

tracey.sparling@eveningstar.co.uk

THREE new operating theatres are to be built in Suffolk, the government has announced.

A massive £5million investment will build them within a new diagnostic and treatment centre at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

The news was announced by health minister, John Hutton, as part of a series of measures designed to boost NHS capacity in both primary and secondary care.

Chief executive of the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust, John Parkes, said: "Investment in a diagnostic and treatment centre will have a fantastic impact on the time patients have to wait for surgery across the three counties. As well as increasing capacity it will also bring about the introduction of modern ways of delivering services, setting new standards of clinical care and patient convenience and choice."

The money will be used to build a third new ultra clean orthopaedic theatre, bringing the total number of theatres in the West Suffolk Hospital to nine, and two new day surgery theatres.

The new theatres, which will take around 12 months to build, will allow the Trust to treat some 2,800 extra cases a year, which will include 800 hip and knee joint replacements and 2,000 day case cataract operations.

Ms Jane Harper-Smith, the trust's director of modernisation, said: "This is great news for patients requiring hip and knee replacements or a cataract operation, who tend to wait longer for surgery because demand is so high. They can be booked in to the diagnostic and treatment centre, at a time convenient to them, speeding up their treatment – it will be driven by patient choice."

The news comes after it was disclosed overseas recruitment drives have netted 33 nurses for the trust.

Tony Ranzetta, chief executive of Suffolk West Primary Care Trust, responsible for commissioning health care in west Suffolk, said: "This is an exciting opportunity to increase capacity, drive down waiting times and streamline services. This has to be good for the people of west Suffolk."

A ward which until recently was occupied by mental health inpatients is to be refurbished to accommodate 40 additional beds and will open in November for patients waiting for nursing and residential home places.

Refurbishment of another ward – which is usually opened only during the winter months – will provide a permanent 26-bed unit for female surgical patients.

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