STRUCTURE: The trust this week reported that it has received formal confirmation that it has acquired the Cheshire and Merseyside NHS Treatment Centre and will be using it to provide its main orthopaedic surgical services.

The trust said in a statement that the former independent sector treatment centre building on its Halton General Hospital campus in Runcorn is “set to come back into patient use as a centre for orthopaedic surgery - with the first clinics taking place in a matter of days”.

The centre has been empty since private health care provider Interhealth Canada moved out at the end of their NHS contract in May 2011.

The foundation trust is planning on bringing some of its orthopaedic outpatient services to the building within a fortnight. Surgery for hip and other joint and bone procedures is set to commence in the autumn and will move from Warrington Hospital to the centre.

Chief executive Mel Pickup said:“We have been working to acquire the centre for some time with the support of local MPs and our NHS partners. This is excellent news for patients and staff. As the centre has been closed for so long, we want to bring it back into use as soon as possible for the benefit of the local population.

“It gives us the extra capacity we need to meet the local demand for orthopaedic surgery and protects it from some of our emergency pressures at Warrington where trauma work has to take a priority at times.

“Making the full surgical service operational will take a little time, but we are anxious to make best use of this fabulous facility as soon as possible. We are aiming to move orthopaedic outpatient clinics that currently take place at Halton General to the centre from 13th August and then we will then transfer our inpatient orthopaedic surgery from Warrington in the autumn.”

The trust is looking to move as much of its orthopaedic surgery as possible to the centre. The exceptions to this are children’s bone and joint surgery and complex orthopaedic cases requiring critical care back up.

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