New day-case unit including a state-of-the-art endoscopy suite

17 July 2018

Over the last 12 months Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital has been gutting the bowels of the hospital to refurbish and build the new endoscopy and short stay suite which is part the hospitals £10.2 million development project. The full project includes a complete refurbish and modernisation of all of the patient rooms, increasing car parking space, development of our theatre areas and hospital landscape including our patient garden.

The new day-case unit increases the number of enclosed cubical bays to 19, providing easy access for Cambridgeshire patients to some of the most advanced, surgical techniques and equipment in the region. The short stay suite offers a comfortable and private area for patients with in room amenities such as ergonomically designed beds, free WIFI, ambient lighting, TV’s with Freeview and a modernised menu offering patients a range of options including fruit smoothies and vegan options in order to improve the patient experience.

Short Stay Manager, Sue White explains why the investment has been made:  

“A combination of new surgical techniques and advances in anaesthesia mean that day case surgery now accounts for nearly 80 per cent of all elective procedures undertaken each year. We know patients want more procedures, when possible, carried out on a day surgery basis so they can return home to convalesce in their own surroundings.  We intend to further increase the range of procedures available, delivered by our dedicated day-care team, to patients from 6.30am to 8pm.

We are working towards becoming JAG (Joint Advisory Group on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) accredited, which would mean it is endorsed by a scheme regarded as one of the most innovative and effective in the healthcare sector. It will prove that the endoscopy service we provide is trusted and focused as well as founded on effective leadership and forward planning. It will also make it the only JAG accredited unit in Cambridgeshire.” 

The biggest investment within the day unit facilities is the endoscopy suite. It will play a vital role in helping clinicians detect and treat early signs of bowel cancer. This is particularly important given Public Health England’s recent report,[1] shows that despite a 3% increase on the previous year, the take-up for bowel cancer screening (59%) is still significantly lower compared to other cancer screening programmes - breast screening (76%) and cervical screening (72%).

The expert

Mr Richard Miller, consultant colorectal and general surgeon explains the importance of the new unit at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.  He is part of the Cambridge Bowel Clinic, a group of four colorectal surgeons (

“Endoscopy is the gold standard test to detect and remove polyps, which grow into cancer, and cancer itself at an earlier stage.  Early detection of bowel cancer is crucial to successful treatment and this unit offers patients and staff outstanding facilities and technology for the investigation of the upper and lower bowel. The comfortable surroundings will put patients at ease while giving them rapid access to an endoscopy.”

A bowel endoscopy involves using a flexible telescope with a camera on the end to look inside the lower part of the bowel and rectum. The test looks for, and removes, any non-cancerous growths (polyps) that could develop into cancer over time.

Why is the endoscopy suite so important?

  • Bowel cancer is a common cancer and an early diagnosis has a huge benefit in terms of survival
  • 1 in 14 men and 1 in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime[3]
  • Often there are no symptoms so screening for it, and polyps, is essential
  • Anyone over 55 should consider screening, particularly if there is another member of the family with bowel cancer
  • Around a quarter (24%) of bowel cancer cases in England are diagnosed as an emergency[2] and around 7 in 10 (68%) of these cases are diagnosed late (stages III or IV)[3]

The new unit was opened officially on the 27th June this year where by Justin Ash, CEO of Spire Healthcare joined the team to cut the ribbon. He stated:

“It is my pleasure to open this new day case unit. These brand new facilities, and the dedicated and experienced team who run it, are testament to our commitment to providing the best quality service within the private healthcare market in this region. It will give Cambridgeshire patients faster access to diagnosis, effective treatment and safe, personalised care from our highly skilled staff. Modern healthcare is advancing fast and here at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, we are proud to be at the forefront of day case surgery with this unit.  More importantly, the endoscopy suite will give more Cambridgeshire patients rapid access to essential procedures. “




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