Work is nearing completion on the new Day Surgery Unit at Prince Philip Hospital, in Llanelli, which will help reduce surgical waiting lists so people can be seen more quickly across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
Hywel Dda University Health Board has delivered the scheme thanks to £20m of Welsh Government funding. Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, visited the unit today, which is due to welcome patients during September 2022.
She said: “Investing in new facilities such as the day surgery unit at Prince Philip Hospital is a vital part of our ambitious strategy to transform planned care in Wales.
“This new unit will help to see thousands of people in need of surgical treatment in the Hywel Dda health board area, as well as those from neighbouring health boards, and will bring more resilience and capacity for NHS Wales to care for people when they need it.”
The unit, includes two theatres, designed specifically to reduce risk of infection by generating a continuous flow of bacteria free air, as well as preparation rooms, anaesthetic rooms, changing facilities and a recovery area.
Ultimately the theatres will have capacity to run six days of the week and will cover specialties including orthopaedics, general surgery, urology and vascular surgery, although this work will be phased.
Although based in Llanelli, the theatres will provide care for patients across the Hywel Dda region and for patient on the borders with Powys and Swansea health boards.
Consultant surgeon and Clinical Director for Scheduled Care Mr Ken Harries said: "We are looking ultimately for around four to five thousand patients to receive procedures in this unit annually. We are ambitious on behalf of our communities and are extending our theatre sessions and days to maximise efficiency and see patients, some of whom have had to sometimes wait significant amounts of time.
“There is a continued challenge of getting the workforce to help us deliver this, but that is a challenge we share with the NHS across the country and one which we are putting all our efforts into. We hope this first-class facility and our approach to recovery, will attract future recruits.
“An added advantage this unit will give us is that it is stand alone, which protects it from impacts within the main hospital wider activity, this will be of huge benefit to patients coming into the unit and for our staff also.”
Executive Director of Strategic Development and Operational Planning Lee Davies added: “This has been an ambitious project, driven by a shared desire to rapidly provide additional facilities for patients across our region to receive their treatment. It is part of our wider recovery plan to rapidly address waiting lists which have grown during the pandemic, which we know is of significant concern to our residents and a key priority for this health board.”
Further updates on when the unit will be open, and direct communication with patients, will be shared in due course.