Work has begun on a £3.3million improvement programme at Bedford Hospital’s endoscopy unit.
The work, which is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015, will see the creation of two new endoscopy rooms, reception area, single-sex changing and consultation rooms and decontamination unit.
There will be an improved waiting area, an upgrade of the existing endoscopy rooms, new state-of-the-art endoscopy equipment and expanded single-sex recovery area.
Endoscopic tests provide a large amount of information about conditions affecting the digestive system, bladder and lungs and are essential to diagnose various forms of cancers, monitor chronic conditions and visualise the effects of treatments.
They can also help prevent long stays in hospital, as some patients can have endoscopic therapy rather than surgery, often resulting in a much speedier recovery from illness.
Bedford Hospital Chief Executive Stephen Conroy said: “Our endoscopy unit is an essential service for our hospital and local community.
“More than 9,000 patients attend our unit every year and this number is increasing by an annual rate of 20 per cent.
“This considerable investment of more than £3million will help us to meet this future demand, whilst also improving the experience for our patients.
“Our unit has been accredited by the Joint Advisory Group on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (JAG) since 2008 and this work will help to ensure that we continue to meet these high standards, but more importantly that our patients are provided with a safe service in a calm and private environment where dignity is maintained.”
A mobile endoscopy unit has also been leased to ensure that there is no reduction is service whilst the building work is carried out.