Lister Hospital in Stevenage is set to benefit from a new state-of-the-art hybrid theatre costing £10 million.

Vascular services at the hospital will benefit from the facility, which will be a combined operating theatre and interventional radiology suite.

Due to open in late spring 2024, it will be the first of its kind in the country. Patients will be able to undergo complex procedures such as inserting stents using minimally invasive techniques to treat aneurysms and leg arteries.

The theatre will also help reduce the risk of leg amputations, and cut the length of hospital stays.

It is being funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, and received planning permission from Stevenage Borough Council in February.

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Approval for the theatre marks a big step in the creation of a vascular network across the region.

Development of the network began in 2017, following approval for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust - which runs Lister - to become a specialised vascular hub, supported by the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Watford General Hospital. 

The hub will ensure round-the-clock access to the early diagnostics, decision-making expertise and emergency procedures necessary for successfully treating vascular conditions.

Among those to benefit will be patients with poor foot circulation, those who have recently had strokes and aneurysms, those undergoing major procedures such as the removal of cancerous tumours, and patients undergoing heart artery stenting following heart attacks.

Outpatient, day surgery and minor treatments will continue at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Watford General Hospital.

Professor Sadasivam Selvakumar, Hertfordshire and West Essex vascular network clinical lead and consultant vascular surgeon, said:

“This is an essential service change to help us provide world-class vascular services with a modern hybrid theatre, and also to maintain this crucial vascular service within Hertfordshire and West Essex.

“This will enable access to a 24/7 consultant-led vascular service with all facilities needed to provide treatments in a timely manner.

"We, as a multidisciplinary team, are looking forward to better caring for patients with vascular disease in the region.”

Back in January, Matt Metcalfe, a consultant vascular surgeon at Lister, said: "At present, we are limited in our operating ability and case mix, as we need better imaging to perform procedures such as iliac branched grafts, fenestrated stents, thoracic stents.

"A hybrid theatre is required to be a vascular hub. Hub formation improves efficiency and patient outcomes. Cost savings occur across the region, due to focused resources, better access to specialist staff and better theatre utilisation.

"More experienced staff undertaking vascular surgery more frequently - by pooling three units together into one unit - is better for patient and has financial savings.”