A groundbreaking ceremony occurred at St Luke’s Hospital on Friday, September 1st, to signify the commencement of construction on the new £19 million NHS surgical day case unit. This unit aims to address the increasing demand for surgical services and enhance patient care.

The cutting-edge day case unit, constructed by Darwin Group, a leading offsite healthcare construction specialist, is expected to boost the annual surgical capacity of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by more than 5,000 procedures. Furthermore, as most day cases will be relocated to St Luke’s, it will free up space for an additional 1,200 surgeries each year at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) for planned and day case procedures.

This unit will be entirely dedicated to planned surgeries and will be separate from the primary acute site at BRI. This strategic separation will not only increase the resilience of the NHS in Bradford but also ensure the long-term viability of this service for local patients.

Moreover, this initiative will contribute to addressing local health disparities, improve patient outcomes, and create new employment opportunities for the local populace.

Situated on the existing St Luke’s site, this project, funded by NHS England’s Targeted Investment Fund (TIF), is set to become operational in the spring of 2024. It will centralise the skills and expertise of healthcare professionals, reducing waiting times for commonly performed procedures.

The primary focus of this unit will be on delivering high-volume, low-complexity surgeries, including trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery, urology, gynaecology, plastic surgery, and colorectal surgery. These procedures can be efficiently performed in a single location, enhancing quality of care and efficiency, resulting in shorter waiting times and same-day discharges for patients.

Due to its separation from emergency services, the day case unit with its two theatres will ensure that surgical beds are available for patients awaiting planned surgeries, reducing the risk of last-minute cancellations and enhancing infection control measures.

Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals, Professor Mel Pickup, said; “It’s great to see work get underway on this fantastic purpose-built day case unit, which will mean better facilities for our patients and colleagues and help us deliver our vision of providing outstanding care for our communities across Bradford.

“It has taken a lot of hard work, effort and dedication from many people to reach this point and the ground-breaking event marks a milestone in making the plans a reality.”

Given the rising demand for healthcare services, this new unit will not only expand its services for the local community but also create employment opportunities for various roles, from medical staff and nurses to support staff, including porters and cleaning services assistants.

Thanks to Darwin Group’s innovative offsite modular construction methods, the project is expected to be completed up to 60 percent faster and with up to 90 percent less waste compared to traditional building methods, making it one of the most efficient and sustainable options available.

Alan Davidson, Darwin Group’s director of healthcare, will attend the breaking ground ceremony on behalf of the firm. He said; “We’re proud to be working alongside Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on this project to increase vital healthcare capacity across the area.

“As specialists in offsite healthcare construction, we know that improving our NHS estates changes thousands of lives for the better – not only for the patients who are treated in them but for the staff who work in them day in, day out. It’s been great to see how excited they are about the project. The fantastic new facilities we’re constructing will serve the people of Bradford for years to come and we’re privileged to be playing our part in helping to improve health outcomes in the area.”