An independent treatment centre that will treat up to 15,000 NHS patients a year has been given the go-ahead - six years after it was first proposed.
Construction of the £31m surgicentre at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, is expected to start within days and it will treat its first patients in April 2011.
The centre, which will have staff seconded from East and North Hertfordshire trust, will take planned day case surgery and some short stay orthopaedic surgical patients, as well as outpatients. These services will be provided by Clinicentre - part of the Carillion group, which is also building the unit - under a five year £122m contract.
Trust chief executive Nick Carver said: “By helping us to separate planned and emergency surgery, this exciting new facility should mean that our patients experience much shorter waiting times and fewer cancelled operations.”
An independent treatment centre was proposed as part of a radical shake-up of services across Hertfordshire in 2003. Clinicentre was chosen as preferred bidder in 2005 but the final contract was only signed last week.