A £2.6 million extension to the endoscopy and sterile services unit at Kettering General Hospital will open next week.
Providing more space for endoscopists and sterile services technicians to go about their work, it will be formally opened on October 23rd by TV and radio personality Rev Richard Coles, the Northants Telegraph reports.
Rev Coles, who was the instrumental partner to singer Jimmy Somerville before becoming an ordained minister, works as a vicar in the nearby town of Finedon and underwent a colonoscopy at the hospital's existing unit last year as part of a national screening programme.
Work on the unit extension began in January 2017 and has involved building a new decontamination unit next to the existing sterile services unit at the hospital in order to enable screening equipment to be decontaminated.
More sterilisation will be needed as the expanded facility will make it possible for the hospital to take on extra screening work. It will do this via a new fifth screening room, enabling the programme of one-off screening of 55-year-olds and the introduction of the Faecal Immunochemical Test, which helps establish which patients need a bowel scope test.
Consultant gastroenterologist and bowel screening lead clinician Dr Andy Dixon commented: "The expansion of the endoscopy department and sterile services together give the hospital significant extra capacity to carry out more screening work."
Welcoming the extension, Rev Coles said: "I know it is the culmination of a lot of work over a number of years by hospital staff and will especially help the endoscopy department to extend its bowel scope screening work in the local community."
The need to ensure a hospital has the facilities and staff to provide an adequate supply of sterilised equipment has been emphasised by a spate of surgery cancellations in the NHS Lothian health board area.
A freedom of information request revealed that between April 2017 and March 2018, 97 operations were cancelled due to a lack of sterilised equipment.
Written by Alex Franklin Stortford
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