THE second phase of a £16m hospital expansion which will help to improve waiting times for Warrington and Halton residents is complete.

The Warrington and Halton Diagnostics Centre (WHDC) has now opened in Runcorn Shopping City.

It will help to diagnose and treat a range of health conditions and is one of only a few Government-funded community diagnostic centres to be launched in a shopping centre in the country, while being the first in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Diagnostic services within Halton Health Hub, which opened to the public in November 2022, are now under way offering additional checks and scans including ultrasound, blood testing, sleep studies, audiology and lung testing, which can identify health conditions including heart disease and cancer.

This latest development is part of a three-phase £16.6m programme of work being carried out by Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WHH), with the initial stage of the development having been focused on the refurbishment and modernisation of existing space within the Nightingale Building at Halton Hospital.

Work has also started on the construction of a new, £7.5m purpose-built diagnostics centre next to the existing Captain Sir Tom Moore Building. Scheduled to open in February 2025, it will be equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology and significant additional equipment to support future expansion, including new MRI and CT services.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Simon Constable, chief executive of Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals, said: “I’m delighted to be able to officially open this second phase of Warrington and Halton Diagnostics Centre.

“By creating facilities like this one, as well as our soon to open Living Well Hub in Warrington town centre, we can place a greater focus on early intervention and provide accessible health and care services in the heart of our communities where people are, as opposed to more acute settings where they have classically been cared for in the past.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

“Diagnosis is the first part of clinical care, so giving our patients greater and quicker access to vital diagnostic tests via WHDC is fundamental to what we are trying to achieve in improving the health and wellbeing of Warrington and Halton residents.”

Once fully operational across the three sites, the provision will enable WHH to carry out an additional 64,000 diagnostic tests and appointments a year.

As well as meeting current and future demand for the Trust, Warrington and Halton Diagnostics Centre will also support the wider Cheshire and Merseyside region via a ‘mutual aid’ scheme – with the aim of achieving a maximum six-week diagnostic wait not only for Warrington and Halton patients, but across the entire region.

Dr Liz Bishop, Chief Executive and Senior Responsible Officer for the Cheshire and Merseyside diagnostic programme, said: “The CDC based in Runcorn Shopping City provides us with a unique opportunity for patients in the surrounding areas to easily access modern diagnostic services outside of a hospital environment with quick, effective services in a one-stop environment that also supports the retail areas. It has ease of access for all.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

“We are delighted with this opportunity to trial new pathways, increase the capacity for tests, and improve access. The team behind the CDC and all the staff have worked immensely hard within a short period of time to mobilise it from an initial idea to a fully operational centre. Patients will benefit for many years to come.”

Sarah Morton, Regional Director for Kier Construction North & Scotland, the building contractor for this latest phase of the development, said: “It is fantastic to see the new diagnostics centre at Halton Health Hub officially open and I would like to thank our site team and all those involved for helping to deliver it to such a high standard.

“We have used our extensive experience in providing modern healthcare facilities to support the creation of the CDC and are pleased that it will give residents better access to healthcare, enabling more appointments in the heart of the community. It will also support Runcorn Shopping City as a valued community asset in bringing healthcare and retail together.”