Friarage Hospital in Northallerton is to benefit from a £1million investment to kick-start the development of a new diagnostic hub and remove disused buildings on the site which were built more than 70 years ago.
The new diagnostic hub will provide state-of-the-art facilities for patients undergoing urology and endoscopy procedures.
The hub will be located on hospital’s former ward 15 and the investment is the first phase of a £5million scheme.
The redundant buildings (the old physiotherapy and education blocks) were built during the Second World War and, as well as reducing maintenance, heating and other costs which can be recycled into frontline patient services, their removal will clear the way for more developments at the hospital in the future.
These include plans to replace the Friarage’s aging theatre block with new modern operating theatres. Plans for the new theatre block are currently being developed and will go through regional and national business case development, assurance and approval processes before they can be given the go-ahead.
The Friarage’s clinical director, James Dunbar, said: “The creation of the new diagnostic hub will improve the experience of patients who will be able to receive their procedures on the same day and avoid the need to book separate appointments on different days.
“The new hub will also compliment the Friarage’s rapid diagnostic centre which opened earlier this year and provides faster diagnosis for patients who do not have obvious cancer symptoms.
“The removal of the old and dilapidated war-time buildings is long overdue. The age of the blocks means they are beyond repair but still cost the hospital money to heat and maintain. Taking them down will mean this money can be redirected to patient services and ensure the site is ready for future developments.”
Richmond MP Rishi Sunak was at Friarage today to welcome the announcement and talk to some of the senior clinicians who have been developing the plans. He said: “This is fantastic news for the Friarage.
“I’ve been pleased to work with Dr Dunbar and his colleagues to support their ambitious plans for our much-loved local hospital.
“This is just one part of a programme of investment in new services at the Friarage which will mean more treatments being carried out here and fewer long journeys for patients to access hospital services elsewhere.”
The trust’s chief executive, Sue Page added: “The announcement of this funding is very welcome and will kick-start much-needed investment in the Friarage which, over time, will ensure that the world-class care our clinicians deliver is matched by world-class facilities.
“It follows a number of other clinically-led improvements at the hospital this year, including the opening of a new eye unit and rapid diagnostic centre, and the creation of new renal unit which will open early next year.
“We are grateful to local MP Rishi Sunak for the continuous encouragement and support he has given to our clinicians and their plans to improve the Friarage which this funding will help to deliver.”