Work to deliver a brand new £7 million Endoscopy Suite at Harrogate District Hospital is now underway.
Construction of the facility is hoped to be completed by spring next year, but hospital patients, visitors and staff have been asked to bear in mind that the work will mean closure of a main corridor for a few months.
Endoscopy Suite Manager, Lorraine Dyson said the plans have been in discussion for the past four years.
She said: “It used to be that Endoscopy was kept in a cupboard somewhere but last year we did 11,000 procedures. The numbers are crazy big and we only see them increasing because it’s such a quick and easy way of seeing what’s wrong and getting people into the treatment they need.”
Endoscopy is a visual examination of any part inside the body which can be reached through a natural orifice, using a small flexible camera called an endoscope.
Ms Dyson said: “Endoscopy is mainly a diagnostic service, we are looking and seeing if there are any warning signs.
“We see most patients within two weeks. If we can find something early it is much easier to treat.”
With the number of procedures increasing year on year, the new Endoscopy Suite has been designed to meet the needs of the growing local population.
The bigger unit will see a total of five procedure rooms, separate changing facilities and dedicated admissions and discharge rooms where the clinical teams can discuss the procedure with patients in private.
Ms Dyson said: “It’s been planned for a few years, it’s a planned spend and I think it’s an excellent investment. I think it’s good to see that the NHS isn’t all doom and gloom and there is still investment in facilities like this.
“The hospital belongs to everyone, it’s important that we are investing in the right areas not just for the Trust, but for the community.”
The facility is being built as a modular construction, meaning that the structure is built by units craned into position.
It will be connected into the existing hospital at first floor level in the region of the glass tunnel between the Intensive Care Unit and the Pre Assessment Unit.
As a result the corridor area along the glass tunnel on the first floor will be closed from 7.30 am on Saturday October 14 until early 2018.
However the ground floor corridor directly below will still be fully accessible.
While work on the new suite is carried out, the current Endoscopy department will continue to work as normal and will still be open for some time when the new facility opens too
Ms Dyson said: “When we actually move into the new unit we will run in the old unit and in the new unit because we need to get used to our new working environment and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
“We wouldn’t want to just move in on day one and start running a service in a completely new space without knowing the best way to utilise it.
“We are in a small space but we run a very efficient service and we are used to working quickly.”
The bigger and better facility will allow Endoscopy staff to utilise the first three treatment rooms fully, the fourth will be for conducting x-rays and the fifth is free to use as the needs of the population inevitably grow.