HEALTH chiefs at Wrightington Hospital say the new theatres and wards being built as part of a £23.5m investment programme will ensure that patient care is enhanced for generations to come.
Work is already well under way and plans for the new ward and theatre complex have been submitted for approval.
A new access road is currently under construction which will open onto Hall Lane, allowing patients better access to the new wards and ‘barn’ theatres.
Unique to the NHS, theatre barns are two theatres located in the same room, separated by a privacy screen and each with their own clean air enclosures.
Health chiefs say this ‘improves team work, permit new ways of working and the sharing of expertise as well as improving supervision for advanced anaesthetic practitioners, new surgeons and anaesthetists’.
Project director Chris Knights from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust (WWL) said: “This development which takes the total number of theatres at Wrightington to 10 is the start of a £23.5m investment and improvement programme at the hospital over the next three years.
“Furthermore, it is also excellent news for our orthopaedic patients as well as two additional modern, state-of-the-art theatres that will further improve patient experience, the additional capacity will allow us to treat 2,500 more patients per year and will help to reduce inpatient waiting times.
“The idea of a ‘theatre barn’ is unique in the NHS. It is where two theatres are located in the same room, separated by a privacy screen and each with their own clean air enclosures. This will improve team work, permit new ways of working and the sharing of expertise as well as improving supervision for advanced anaesthetic practitioners, new surgeons and anaesthetists.”
WWL say that while disruption is anticipated, they will work hard to keep it to a minimum and patients can expect no changes to service levels during any upheaval. Earlier in the summer, two new state-of-the-art modular theatres designed specifically for orthopaedic procedures were also installed on the site.
Mr Knights added: “The barn theatre model of working has proved very successful at other hospitals up and down the country, with reported benefits of increased safety, improved clinical practice and greater efficiency.”
The work is part of a wider £70m investment programme across all of WWL’s sites.
At Wigan Infirmary there will be increased car parking, a dedicated elective surgical centre, an oncology suite, more single room accommodation, a second MRI scanner and a pathology essential services laboratory.
Last month the new £6.8m Hanover Diagnostic and Treatment Centre opened at Leigh Infirmary.
It houses the Leigh Endoscopy Department, Women’s Healthcare Unit and an Endoscope Re-processing Unit and a new urology unit, which has been named in honour of Bill Richmond, the consultant credited with putting urology services in Wigan and Leigh on the map.
The new unit is a one-stop clinic to diagnose and treat patients with diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system, including bladder problems, prostate problems and prostate cancer.