Two new operating theatres may reduce Wirral NHS waiting times

By Ed Barnes

29th Nov 2022 | Local News

One of the theatres in the new Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre
One of the theatres in the new Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre

NHS waiting times could be shorter this winter in Cheshire and Wirral after a multi-million pound surgical hub opened on November 25.

Based at Clatterbridge Hospital in southern Wirral, the Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre will provide two new operating theatres to treat patients waiting for planned surgery. Two more theatres are currently being built.

The new centre, hailed as "fantastic news" by NHS directors, is expected to treat around 6,000 patients each year and was part of a £25m investment into the hospital. More than 40 staff have been employed at the hub as part of a large recruitment process.

NHS waiting times in England are at their highest ever driven by a large backlog of appointments postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some fear that this may be the worst winter crisis facing the NHS on record.

The aim of the hub is to reduce cancellations of surgeries on the day because of pressures in other areas of the hospital. Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust believe this will improve patient experience and prevent "valuable operating time being wasted."

The hub will focus on patients who have been waiting over 52 weeks for treatment and has been built away from Arrowe Park Hospital to separate it from patients who require emergency admission including infections such as COVID-19 and flu.

Dr Nikki Stevenson, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said: "I'm delighted that we have opened the centre ahead of winter and we have already treated a number of patients from across the region who required elective surgery.

"The centre will enable us to treat many more patients, especially when the second phase is complete. It will make a huge difference to those across the region who have unfortunately been waiting for surgery and will greatly improve patient experience."

The NHS trust received £10.6m earlier this year to build the two surgical theatres and in September, further funding of £14.95m was received to build two more as phase two of the project. The two theatres currently being built are expected next year.

The funds have come from the NHS' Targeted Investment Fund to help clear the NHS backlog.

Hayley Kendall, Chief Operating Officer at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, added: "As we head into one of the busiest periods for hospitals this winter, the centre will ensure elective care is not affected by acute hospital pressures. It is great that we are now able to provide high quality elective care for patients across the region."

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