WORK to build a £7 million radiology centre at Colchester Hospital will soon be underway.

The creation of a state-of-the-art specialist centre for diagnostic cardiac and radiology procedures will mean patients will be treated more quickly.

Building work for the interventional radiology and cardiac angiography unit can now begin on the Turner Road site after planning permission was granted.

Interventional radiology involves obtaining images of the inside of the body.

Cardiac angiography can be used to help diagnose heart conditions, plan future treatments and carry out certain procedures.

Neill Moloney, managing director of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, said: “This is an essential clinical facility bringing together two departments in a dedicated, fully equipped unit, which will replace some of our existing outdated buildings and equipment.

“It will mean we can provide a more effective service with improved accessibility for both our staff and patients.”

Staff on the unit will be able to carry out a range of radiological procedures.

These kinds of procedures usually involve the insertion of a needle, cannula, catheter or wire for treatment.

This type of minimally invasive technique will reduce the level of risk to the patient, meaning they spend less time in hospital and can recover quickly.

As well as providing facilities for cardiac angiography, the new unit will also be used for state-of-the-art MRI conditional pacemaker implants, heart monitors and other devices.

Work will finish on the two-storey unit on the first floor of the hospital in April 2021.

A public consultation over plans to build a new orthopaedic unit in Essex will also take place early next year.

As part of a record £69.3 million investment programme at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust is set to consult on plans to create the specialist £30 million orthopaedic surgery centre in a bid to cut waiting times.

The centre will be built at either Colchester or Ipswich hospital and will take all orthopaedic operation patients from both areas.

A decision has not yet been made on the location and a date for the public consultation has not yet been given.