Publish date: 29 January 2024

The next stage of the construction of the Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre at Victoria Infirmary Northwich has begun with the arrival of a steel frame on site.

This steel frame will form the basis of the new build element for the development of the infirmary site. This new centre will bring together state-of-the-art clinical facilities focussing on ophthalmology and other surgical services, including operating theatres as well as recovery areas and consulting rooms.

It is hoped the surgical centre will treat thousands of patients from across Cheshire and Merseyside, with the facilities purpose built to treat large numbers of patients requiring less complex operations and minor procedures.

It will help to reduce the waiting times for these patients, with an immediate focus on those who have been waiting more than 52 weeks for treatment but with the aim to significantly reduce the overall backlog of patients. It will also free up operating theatres at other hospital sites in Cheshire which can be used to reduce the waiting lists for more complex operations.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been allocated £18.2 million of funding from NHS England via NHS Cheshire and Merseyside to build the surgical centre, aligning with NHS plans to ensure elective surgery is not affected by hospital A&E pressures.

Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre at VIN will open in early 2025 and will treat around 12,000 patients a year.

Russ Favager, Board Senior Responsible Officer - Leighton New Hospital Programme and Estates Redevelopment, said: “It is fantastic that we have reached the construction milestone of the arrival of the steel frame on site at Victoria Infirmary Northwich. We know how important the VIN is to our local communities and we are delighted that the progression in the development of the centre continues to support our ambitions of bringing care and services closer to home.”

Bringing the frame to VIN was an impressive sight, with very careful planning to reduce disruption to the local community as well as staff and patients on site during the delivery.

The Trust has created timelapse footage to show the journey of the frame being placed into position on the Victoria Infirmary Site and you can view that here.

Professor Rowan Pritchard-Jones, Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “Across Cheshire and Merseyside, NHS teams are working really hard to address the waiting list that has built up over recent years. We’re making great strides and have made significant improvements in our waiting list position.

“The new Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre at Victoria Infirmary Northwich has an ambition to be a cataract centre of excellence, providing eye care for people in Cheshire, meaning that there will be fewer people waiting for eye surgery across the region as well as greatly improving patient experience.”

The timelapse of the steel frame being placed into position.

The steel frame arriving on site.

The artist's impression of the new Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre at Victoria Infirmary Northwich.