THE first of two multi-million pound endoscopy units has been unveiled by the health trust that runs Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Doctors will start treating patients in the cutting edge £2.8m unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital on Wednesday – weeks before its £3.5m sister centre opens at HRI.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust says they will be among the best in the country.

The Halifax unit will serve about 7,000 patients a year, using fibre-optic cameras to diagnose stomach, bowel, oesophageal, respiratory, urological and gynaecological conditions.

Consultant Ashwin Verma, clinical director for medicine (pictured), said: “Not only will it be a great place to work for everyone but also a great place for patients.

“It has been designed taking patients into account, making sure their journey is as seamless as possible.

“Endoscopy has developed incredibly in the last 10 to 20 years. We are doing things that we would never have envisaged and this is the way forward.”

As well as providing diagnostic tests, the unit will be used for procedures such as the removal of polyps – abnormal growths – and the insertion of stents and feeding tubes.

The centre has the latest equipment and includes separate waiting areas, changing areas, bathrooms and recovery rooms for patients.

Trust officials believe there is sufficient patient demand to warrant both units.

They also want to have easy access for patients on each hospital site.

Senior sister Michelle Durrans added: “I am thrilled that we are opening the doors to the new endoscopy unit. It will be a great environment for the staff to work in and for those who are treated here.”

The official opening took place last Wednesday and was carried out by former clinical director for surgery Robert Goodall and retired gastroenterologist Dr Safraz Qureshi.

Dr Qureshi said: “I am thrilled that this has opened, it is a great improvement. Endoscopy has developed for diagnostic purposes but also for therapeutic purposes.”

Mr Goodall said: “It is much better to have a self-contained unit both for patients and staff.”

Work on the new endoscopy unit at HRI started last April.

The service, which was carrying out about 6,500 procedures a year, had outgrown its former home.

The new unit will provide four individual consulting and preparation rooms, three fully equipped endoscopy rooms and a two-phase recovery area – one for people who are coming out of sedation and another area for patients to have a drink while they wait for relatives.

There will also be a waiting area and quiet room and improved staff facilities, including a seminar room for trainees.