THE Department of Health has said it will give £1.8m to develop a new delivery suite theatre at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

Confirmation of the funding follows a bid by Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for government funding for the NHS in the region.

The new suite means the JR team will finally be able to stop using space in the gynaecology theatre, as they have been until now.

Dr Veronica Miller, clinical director for maternity, said: "I am really delighted that we are going to have this additional theatre and improved space for high risk women who require a caesarean section.

"Very importantly it will also allow us to stop using space in the gynaecology theatre so that they can increase the number of operations that they are able to offer."

The building work will consist of upgrading and refurbishing an old maternity theatre, which had been decommissioned, to modern standards and to provide a surgical recovery room on the delivery suite.

The intention is also to improve facilities on the postnatal ward, allowing the formation of a dedicated area for women who require an elective (planned) caesarean birth.

The JR said an 'important benefit' of the work would be to free up much needed capacity for gynaecology.

Ingrid Granne, clinical director for gynaecology, said: “We are so pleased about this new theatre, as this will free up more time in our gynaecology theatres, helping to provide more availability for operations for patients.

"This in turn will help reduce waiting times for our gynaecology patients who need non-urgent, planned operations."

The JR was among 75 schemes to get a share of £963m NHS England cash this week.