The region's largest hospital has received a boost as it attempts to establish a new wing to help tackle growing waiting lists.

The second phase of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) £11m orthopaedic centre has been approved by South Norfolk Council (SNC). 

Norwich Evening News: An artist's impression of the centreAn artist's impression of the centre (Image: South Norfolk Council)

Phase two of the project will add enhanced facilities and increase capacity at the centre. 

Overall, the project will consist of two theatres and a 21-bed ward - giving the hospital a standalone elective surgical unit. 

The news comes as the hospital faces "one of the longest waiting lists for elective surgery" and health bosses attempt to "relieve the backlog created by the Covid-19 pandemic."

Phase one of the project was supposed to be completed a year ago and admit its first patients shortly afterwards.

Norwich Evening News: Plans for the first stage of the centre were approved in February 2022Plans for the first stage of the centre were approved in February 2022 (Image: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital)

Hospital bosses had hoped that it would help reduce the number of people waiting for orthopaedic surgery, which currently stands at more than 9,400.

But the centre has been held up by "contractual issues" over costs with contractors PFI firm Octagon.

Officials now say it will open in summer this year.

The initial cost of the project was £11.4m but it is set to soar due to the delays, although hospital bosses remain tight-lipped by how much it will rise.

N&N director of strategy and major projects Simon Hackwell said: “Building work on the Norfolk and Norwich Orthopaedic Centre (NaNOC)  is coming to an end and the first patients will be treated in the brand new orthopaedic hub this summer.

Norwich Evening News: N&N director of strategy and major projects, Simon HackwellN&N director of strategy and major projects, Simon Hackwell (Image: NNUH)

"However, we realise that we still need more operating theatres and beds to tackle our waiting lists and the Trust has recently been successful in securing some national investment in this.

"This means we have plans in place to build a second unit, which will double our capacity and go a long way in helping us reduce our patient waiting lists.

"We are pleased to see that our application for this second unit has been approved by planners.”