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pounds 70m boost for NHS care.

Byline: Suzanne Elsworth

WORK on a pounds 70m project to revolutionise health care in Merseyside and Cheshire could begin within eight weeks if plans are given the green light.

The scheme is a joint project between the CardiothoracicCentre NHSTrust and the RoyalLiverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust to expand facilities at both sites with the creation of 1,000 jobs. Operating theatres will be built and dozens of extra beds created as part of the largest publicly funded investment by the NHS todate.

A planning application has been lodged with Liverpool City Council, and Central Liverpool and South Liverpool Primary CareTrusts. If the plans are passed, work could begin by the end of May with the development carried out in phases so existing facilities a renot disrupted.

The project would be completed within five years and is set to be the most significant capital development in hospital services to be undertaken in Liverpool for many years. The changes will substantially increase cardiothoracic surgery,cardiology and chest medicine at the Cardiothoracic Centre and expand and improve surgical services for both outpatients and in pa ti en ts from the Royal and Broadgreen Hospital.

The hospitals' catchment area includes both Cheshire and Merseyside as well as North Wales and the Isle of Man.

New facilities will include a 35-bed surgical intensive care and high dependency unit, a 10- bed coronary care unit and two additional cardiothoracic theatres bringing the total to eight.

There will also be one additional cardiac catheter laboratory,bringing the total to five, and a new outpatients department.

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Trust will benefit from new urology, orthopaedic and surgical wards plus nine operating additional theatres.

The two trusts will share a number of facilities including X-ray, ultrasound, a CT scanner, an MRI scanner, a pathology department and a pharmacy.

Dr RaphaelPerry,clinical director of cardiology at the CTC, says, as well as giving patients access to the best equipment on offer, the expansion will lead toacut in waiting lists.

``If you have more capacity, people won't have to wait as long,'' he said. ``We have hit our targets before by doing extra work,but this expansion will increase our volume.''

The new buildings will also house the most up to date diagnostic equipment available.

Dr Perry added: ``There will be some very rare pieces of kit available to our patients. This will also make us the biggest specialist unit in the UK by along way.

``It's all about building for the future. This will be very good for the people of Merseyside and Cheshire where investment in the past has been poor.'' Maggie Boyle, chief executive of the RoyalLiverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals, said: ``The new surgical centre will carry out over 11,000 orthopaedic, general surgery and urology operations a year.

``It will replace and expand on old wards and theatres dating back to the early years of the last century.

``It will also free up part of the Royal to help with admitting emergency patients and those requiring major operations.

``The new clinics will work on a one stop basis, so that patients will be able to have the tests they need and see all the different health professionals on a single visit.''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 2, 2003
Words:540
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