THE ground was broken on a new hospital theatre’s build - which Barnsley healthcare bosses believe will significantly reduce a bulging waiting list for surgery - after a £15m deal was signed to help ease the strain.

Barnsley Hospital will work with other local trusts to create the new facility, which will be based at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough, and is expected to take seven months to build.

In its first year of operation the centre will undertake more than 2,000 orthopaedic procedures for patients from Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster, equating to about 40 per cent of the current orthopaedic waiting list locally.

The facility will feature two state-of-the-art theatre units, two anaesthetic rooms and a recovery suite, in addition to 12 inpatient beds.

Dr Richard Jenkins, chief executive at both Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This collaborative effort is a testament to our shared commitment to improving healthcare services for the people of South Yorkshire.

“I want to extend my thanks to the dedicated project team who have worked tirelessly to bring us to this significant milestone and look forward to welcoming our first patients in the new year.”

NHS figures outline that the region’s waiting list is around 43 per cent greater than it was in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

Currently there are 2,500 patients who have waited more than a year for their operation, of which two-thirds are waiting for an orthopaedic procedure.

Jon Sargeant, executive director of recovery, innovation and transformation, added: “This is a fantastic development and will see us significantly reduce the waiting list for operations such as knee and hip replacements, as well many other elective orthopaedic procedures.”

Known as the Montagu Elective Orthopaedic Centre (MEOC), the facility will feature two state-of-the-art theatre units, two anaesthetic rooms and a recovery suite, in addition to 12 inpatient beds in a dedicated orthopaedic facility.

The development will also benefit from its placement within Montagu Hospital, co-located with rehabilitation services and with access to the planned community diagnostic centre and a hydrotherapy pool.

Jon added: “Working with our partners at Barnsley and Rotherham, we will be able to offer state-of-the-art facilities in a setting which is immune from the usual cancellations we often see within hospital settings.

“Furthermore, it will help to outline our ambitions for Montagu Hospital as a centre of excellence for elective and diagnostic care, ensuring we are making the most of the site, and its unique and accessible location within the Dearne Valley.”

Gavin Boyle, chief executive at NHS South Yorkshire, lauded the ‘historic’ collaboration.

He said: “This innovative endeavour signifies our commitment to improving healthcare services and reducing waiting lists across the region.

“The Montagu Elective Orthopaedic Centre is a testament to our collective efforts to deliver patient-centred care and improve health outcomes across our region.

“We look forward to the positive impact it will have on our communities and the tangible benefits it will bring to those in need of orthopaedic procedures.”