A TAUNTON hospital is set to get a £4.4 million theatre suite – if plans are approved.
Musgrove Park Hospital has submitted an application for a dedicated eye theatre suite.
The ophthalmic theatre suite will mean consultant eye surgeons will be able to perform more operations each week.
Ed Herbert, a consultant ophthalmologist at the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said the new building is an “exciting opportunity”.
“The eye unit is the busiest department at Musgrove Park Hospital, carrying out more than 3,000 operations every year and providing nearly 50,000 outpatient appointments,” he said.
“Historically, there has always been a greater demand for surgery than we can meet, leading to long waiting times.
“With new social distancing requirements in place, as well as reduced theatre availability, our ophthalmology patients have inevitably needed to wait longer than we’d wish for a procedure.
“These new facilities will give greater capacity with the aim of reducing waiting times.”
The suite is set to be built off site as a modular build, complete with equipment inside.
This means it can then be lifted into place at the hospital.
It will have changing rooms and a private waiting area, as well as rooms for anaesthetists and surgeons to speak to and examine patients before their operation.
Pradeep Madhavan, an orthopaedic consultant at the trust, added: “This new unit will be a modern facility that will allow ophthalmic patients to continue with their surgical treatment safely and in time without being unduly affected by conditions in the rest of the hospital and community.
“The project is moving at pace and is a tribute to the team spirit within the department of ophthalmology and expertise and leadership in various parts of our NHS trust.”
Patients will be able to access the unit direct from the car park and will not need to walk through the hospital.
The suite is in addition to a new outpatient macular and glaucoma hub being developed at Chard hospital.
Approval for the ophthalmic theatre suite is subject to planning permission from Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT).
SWT is set to consider the application in the early summer.
To view and comment on the planning application, log on to somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/planning, application reference 38/21/0128.