An investment totalling £27 million has been proposed for Chapel Allerton Hospital, aimed at facilitating an increase in non-emergency surgeries and a subsequent reduction in patient waiting times. This initiative has prompted the submission of a planning application to the Leeds City Council, pending evaluation and approval by NHS England.

The undertaking is a strategic move by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, designed to establish Elective Care Hubs that serve as dedicated spaces for planned surgeries, alleviating the strain from emergency demands. This strategy is set to address the backlog in waiting times, enabling patients to undergo their scheduled procedures in a more timely manner.

Should the Trust’s application receive the green light, it will lead to the construction of a new theatre and an associated extension building for administrative purposes. Additionally, plans encompass the development of a fresh surface parking area, the reconfiguration of an existing surface parking lot, and the inclusion of three designated spots for electric vehicles. Furthermore, the project includes the installation of new rooftop equipment directly above Ward C7 and supplementary covered equipment installations on the new extension structure.

The proposal also encompasses the renovation of an existing area, designated to house a new ward to support the planned operating theatres. Upgrades involving the replacement of windows in Ward C7 and the refurbishment of the pharmacy block are also part of the application.

The envisioned completion date for the project is slated for March 2025. A significant portion of Adult Spines elective care services will be transitioned from Leeds General Infirmary to Chapel Allerton as an integral aspect of this endeavour. The Trust is a key provider of spinal surgery services, catering to an extensive caseload of over 1,500 elective procedures, more than 500 emergency surgeries, and in excess of 12,000 clinical appointments annually.

Professor Hemant Pandit, Clinical Director for Chapel Allerton, said: “This planning application demonstrates the Trust’s vision for creating protected, specialised clinical areas to help us tackle the post-Covid planned operation backlog and ensure we are doing all we can to care for patients as soon as possible. It will be a huge step forward for patients and staff.

“By having a dedicated Elective Care Hub away from the main hospital sites we will have a capacity which we can confidently use all year round for the planned surgery. It will help services be protected from surges in urgent care in winter, and reduce the uncertainty for patients around last-minute cancellations. It will help to reduce the time patients wait for treatment.

“It has taken a lot of effort to get to this point of submission and scrutiny by Planning Committee members. Thank you everyone involved so far.”

The proposed investment at Chapel Allerton complements the strategic implementation of new ways of working across the Trust and plans to invest £10 million at Wharfedale Hospital to create an elective care hub there.