Kettering General Hospital’s £2.6m new endoscopy and sterile services extension will be opened by a famous face next week.
The extension is being officially opened on October 23 by TV and radio celebrity the Rev Richard Coles.
Building work started on the expansion of the hospital’s endoscopy department and associated sterile services department extension in January 2017 following on from detailed planning work which lasted several years.
It has involved building a new Decontamination Unit – adjacent to the existing Sterile Services Unit near Rothwell Road – to enable the equipment used in screening to be decontaminated.
It has also involved a major refurbishment of the endoscopy department including adding a new procedures room – increasing the number of endoscopy procedures rooms at KGH from four to five.
Having the fifth endoscopy room was needed to enable the trust to take on significantly more bowel screening work to provide the bowel scope screening programme one-off test for 55-year-olds and prepare for the introduction of Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) which will highlight individuals who need a bowel scope test.
Consultant gastroenterologist and bowel screening lead clinician Dr Andy Dixon said: “The expansion of the endoscopy department and sterile services together give the hospital significant extra capacity to carry out more screening work.
“It is great news for local people because it means we can provide bowel scope screening for the whole of Northamptonshire when people reach their 55th birthday.
“We are delighted that the new extension has been opened by one of our own bowel scope screening patients – the Rev Richard Coles – and we want to thank him very much for coming along and supporting us.”
The Rev Coles is the current vicar of Finedon and, as a member of the local community, had a colonoscopy test at Kettering General Hospital in 2017 as part of the national bowel scope screening programme.
He is well known nationally for being the instrumentalist partner of Jimmy Somerville in the hit band the The Communards in the 1980s and for taking part in TV shows such as the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2017.
He is a Chancellor of the University of Northampton and a great supporter of education.
He said: “I very much welcomed the opportunity to officially open Kettering General Hospital’s new endoscopy and sterile services extension.
“I know it is the culmination of a lot of work over a number of years by hospital staff and will especially help the endoscopy department to extend its bowel scope screening work in the local community.
“I have been one of the recipients of this valuable one-off test which is now offered to local people at the age of 55 before formal bowel cancer screening begins for 60-to-74-year-olds.
“I am a great advocate of this kind of screening. It’s really a no brainer. A few minutes of testing could prevent a whole world of grief and pain for you and your family.
“I am also a great believer in community education and the importance of taking the time to understand how to best care for yourself – an example of which would be taking part in this kind of health screening programme.
“I wish the team all the best for the future in their very valuable – and potentially lifesaving - work.”