Construction work has started to create a new inpatient ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, marking the final stage in the development of a new National Treatment Centre at the Larbert hospital.

The National Treatment Centre - Forth Valley will form part of a network of new National Treatment Centres being developed to increase capacity and reduce waiting times across NHS Scotland.

The new National Treatment Centre ward will designed and built by Portakabin.

The new 30 bedded ward is part of a £17m national investment that has also funded the opening of two additional operating theatres (bringing the total number to 16) and the installation of a second state-of-the-art MRI scanner. This has increased surgical and diagnostic capacity and created more flexibility for managing both planned and emergency surgery. The specialist MRI scanner, which is used to take images of all parts of the body including the brain, spinal cord, heart and blood vessels and internal organs, is housed in a customised room within the hospital’s Radiology Department, complete with backlit picture wall and ambient lighting to help patients relax in calming and less clinical surroundings.

The National Treatment Centre ward, which is being developed at the rear of the hospital between the Mental Health Unit and the Emergency Department, will create extra inpatient capacity to care for the increasing numbers of patients who require orthopaedic surgery. Along with the additional theatre and MRI scanning capacity, it will enable around 1,500 additional operations to be carried out every year (mainly hip and knee joint replacement surgery), supporting the delivery of local and national plans.

Recruitment to support the development of the new National Treatment Centre has been very successful and, so far, more than 90 additional staff have been recruited across a number of specialties. These include theatre nurses, anaesthetists, orthopaedic surgeons as well as theatre practitioners, healthcare support workers, staff nurses and clinical team leaders.

Staff across the organisation have worked incredibly hard over the last few years to deliver this major expansion programme and I’m delighted that we are now marking the beginning of the final stage in this important national development. This will ensure we are able to keep pace with increased demand and reduce waiting times for the thousands of patients who require hip or knee surgery every year.

Cathie Cowan, Chief Executive, NHS Forth Valley

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am pleased construction has now commenced on the inpatient ward for the National Treatment Centre (NTC) in Forth Valley, which is a significant milestone for the programme.

"We know that the pandemic has taken its toll on services like orthopaedics, but the network of NTCs - including the new centre in Forth Valley - will help address this and be central to NHS recovery.

“I would like to thank the NHS Forth Valley team for their continued dedication and commitment to this project during a time of continued significant pressure.”

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