Delays to new surgical unit threatens funding

Work on a surgery centre needs to be accelerated to prevent a "consequential impact" on funding, a health trust has said.

The £19m day case unit at St Luke's Hospital in Bradford was due to open in spring but construction "had not progressed as anticipated", Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said.

It has now asked Bradford Council to lift conditions on when building work is allowed take place.

Failure to complete the project in time could risk funding, the trust said.

Planning approval for the development was granted in July 2023 with one condition stating construction work could take place between 07:30 and 18:00 on weekdays.

Work on Saturdays could only take place between 07:30 and 13:00 and no work was allowed on Sundays, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The trust has applied to the council to lift this condition, arguing that builders need to be working on the site seven days a week for it to be finished in time for a July handover.

In the application it states: "Construction work has not progressed as initially anticipated.

"This has somewhat set the development back, which is set to have a consequential impact upon the funding of the project, which requires development to be completed as soon as possible."

The application said the nearest homes were "a substantial distance away" from the construction site and weekend work would cause "limited" disruption.

It continued: "It is important to note, there have been no complaints from local residents since construction began."

Reduced waiting times

Once open, the new building will be separate to Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's main acute site at Bradford Royal Infirmary, and will solely deliver planned surgery.

It will focus mainly on providing high volume, low complexity surgery including trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery, urology, gynaecology, plastic surgery and colorectal surgery.

Referring to the delay, a spokesperson for the trust said: "As with all large-scale building projects, especially those involving installation of hi-tech medical equipment, delays can occur but planning permission to allow work to continue on weekends will help us complete the project on schedule.

"When complete, the day case unit will increase operations delivered in Bradford by over 5,000 a year, reducing the time patients wait for surgery, and help tackle local health inequalities."

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