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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 23 October 2023

RUH submits plans to further improve surgery capacity at Sulis Hospital Bath

Plans to increase capacity at Sulis Hospital Bath for non-emergency orthopaedic surgery will take another important step forward if proposals submitted to B&NES Council by the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH) NHS Foundation Trust get the green light.

A planning application has been submitted to the council by the RUH for a new wing at Sulis Hospital, a fully operational independent hospital owned by the RUH which treats both NHS and private patients.

The RUH acquired the former Circle Bath hospital in June 2021, with the main objective of securing additional elective capacity for NHS patients across Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Situated at Sulis Hospital's Peasedown St John site, just outside Bath, the new Sulis Elective Orthopaedic Centre (SEOC) would act as an NHS elective surgery hub, helping to tackle the backlog of elective, non-emergency surgery across the south west.

The new development, which has secured £25m in national NHS funding, would see:

  • Two additional modular theatres
  • Four extra inpatient beds
  • Seven extra day case pods
  • Conversion of two existing theatres to laminar flow theatres, providing a work area with sterile conditions and the very highest standards of cleanliness

The SEOC would be a centre of excellence working to national best-practice standards and providing high quality care.

Surgery would be protected from disruption and cancellations caused by surges in emergency hospital admissions because Sulis is not an acute hospital with an emergency department, and as such the SEOC will enhance the resilience of services into the future.

The SEOC would serve patients from the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) area, and beyond, from the whole of the South West region.

Around 60% of capacity would be used to carry out elective orthopaedic procedures that would otherwise be managed at the RUH's main Combe Park site, with the remaining 40% available to support the wider region's NHS elective recovery programme and future growth in demand projected to arise from the ageing population in BSW.

If approved, the scheme will see the construction of a single storey wing to the east of the hospital with some refurbishment works to the existing hospital top floor. The building has been designed to appear contemporary and in-keeping with the existing site, while minimising visual impact on both the awardwinning design of Sulis Hospital and the rural views to the south.

Cara Charles-Barks, RUH Chief Executive, said: "The construction of the Sulis Elective Orthopaedic Centre will have a really positive impact on people across BaNES, Swindon Wiltshire and the wider region.

"If approved, the new centre will offer a more sustainable model of care delivery and improved elective orthopaedic capacity to meet the needs of region and further afield.

"We plan to increase the number of operations performed each year by around 3,750 cases, which will make a real impact on the back log of elective surgery across the region."

If planning permission is granted for the new hospital wing, construction would begin early in the new year and completed during the summer of 2024.

You can view the planning permission and comment on the proposals on the B&NES Council website.


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