08 June 2010,

Norfolk LIFT - First of Two New Podiatry Theatres Opened to Patients

The first of two new podiatry theatres opened on the first of June at the Norwich Community Hospital, as a project to refurbish part of the hospital site.

Following a deep clean of the theatres, the first theatre has now opened to patients, along with associated preparation and recovery suites and new general consulting and treatment rooms, which have also been installed as part of the £1.5m project. The second theatre will become operational over the next few weeks.

The service will be provided by Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCH&C), who will manage the theatres at Norwich Community Hospital. The theatres will mean patients requiring operations on their feet or lower leg - such as for bunions, ingrown toenails and arthritis of the toes - will be able to be treated in a modern, clinical facility.

Previously, patients requiring these operations could be seen at the existing podiatry clinic at the Norwich Community Hospital, which has now been replaced as it only had one theatre and had become outdated. The existing clinic will now close and be transferred to the newly refurbished unit on the Turnstone Court area of the Norwich Community Hospital.

Building and refurbishment work for this project has been underway at the Norwich Community Hospital site since August 2009 and has involved the collaborative efforts of NHS Norfolk and two estates partners - Anglia Support Partnership (ASP) and Norlife. The organisations have worked together to complete the refurbishment of the site, which was formerly used by office staff.

ASP put together an initial design for the unit, after speaking with podiatric staff to ensure it met modern requirements for podiatric surgery. ASP then helped ensure the requirements of the podiatry team and NHS standards were maintained during the development of the project.

The capital funding for the project (£1.5m) has been provided by Norlife, which is an organisation consisting of both public and private partners. Norlife is made up of Guildhouse UK Ltd (a private sector partner), NHS Norfolk, and Community Health Partnerships. While Norlife has funded the capital costs of the project, NHS Norfolk has agreed to pay for the facility monthly, on a lease basis.

Graham Copsey, NHS Norfolk's Assistant Director of Estates Commissioning, said: "At a time of economic pressure, NHS Norfolk is looking to make public money go as far as possible. This agreement with Norlife means NHS Norfolk has minimal costs up-front, but can make these podiatry theatres a reality for patients now.

"This project is a really good example of a number of organisations coming together to make a scheme successful, so we now have a modern clinical facility which will really benefit patients. The new podiatry theatres will be a wonderful resource for people needing podiatric surgery."

Norlife General Manager, June Gemmell, added: "This is the first project of its kind that I have been involved in since taking my role at Norlife and I am delighted with the result. After months of hard work, we are now in a position to get patients using this facility, which is very rewarding."

For further information please contact Norlife LIFTCo