The final approval of a new £33.5 million surgical hub at Northallerton's Friarage Hospital has been welcomed by Prime Minister and MP for Richmond, Rishi Sunak.

Plans for the state-of-the-art facility, which will more than double the number of planned operations the hospital carries out each year, were given the green light on Wednesday (February 8).

The initial announcement that the Friarage was to be one of the 50-plus new surgical hubs across England was made in August 2022 and now, building on the £33.5 million state-of-the-art surgical facility is set to begin in March. 

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Through the proposals, the new facility will see the hospital’s six existing operating theatres replaced with a modern surgical hub that will include six main operating theatres, two minor operating theatres, and a surgical admission and day hub. 

Welcoming the news of the hub, Prime Minister and MP for Richmond, Rishi Sunak, has highlighted that the NHS team has been working on the plans with himself since 2018.

He added: “This is great news for our local hospital. This investment, which I have worked on with the Friarage and South Tees teams since 2018, further helps to secure its future as a model small rural hospital. I look forward to seeing work start on the hub in a matter of weeks.” 

The Northern Echo: An artist's impression of how the £3.5m surgical hub will lookAn artist's impression of how the £3.5m surgical hub will look (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

The hub is just the latest in a series of clinically led developments at the Friarage which have seen the creation of new services and the ongoing removal of Second World War-era buildings on the site. 

It will also increase the capacity to support patients whose non-urgent care has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Friarage development is one of more than 50 new surgical hubs that are being created across the country. 

Mike Stewart, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s chief medical officer, said: “We are delighted that the plans for significant investment in the creation of a surgical hub at the Friarage have been given final approval. 

“Replacing the hospital’s ageing theatre block with a modern and expanded surgical hub will ensure the world-class care our clinicians deliver is matched by world-class facilities for decades to come.”