WORK has begun to create a new £10m endoscopy unit at York Hospital.

The project will take about a year to complete, and will more than double the number of treatment rooms from three to seven, resulting in one of the most modern and largest endoscopy units in England.

Currently, the endoscopy unit provides about 13,000 treatments each year - examining the inside of a patient's body using a long, thin camera - and has outgrown its current location in the main hospital, with the new unit expected to improve diagnostic and therapeutic waiting times and increase the range of procedures offered, meaning fewer patients will have to travel to Leeds or Hull.

Mr Stevan Stojkovic, clinical director of general surgery and urology, said: "We’ve known for a while that demand for endoscopic services was beginning to outstrip our capacity, so the decision was taken to future proof the unit.

"We are seeing seven per cent growth in demand for endoscopy services year on year. The three endoscopy rooms we currently have available are in constant use. The new unit will provide the space that we need to provide a timely, patient-focused service."

Patrick Crowley, Chief Executive, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: "This is the biggest capital investment for many years and will allow the Trust to provide clinical services to a growing number of patients needing endoscopy."

The new unit will be operational in early 2019.