This new unit, which is set to be completed and open to patients within the next six months, has already started construction and will be known as 'The urology and pelvic physiology unit '.
The service has outgrown its current accommodation, which has been housed in a Portacabin, and will now have a state-of-the-art facility in the middle of the main hospital building that is easily accessible to patients.
Southend Hospital is a cancer centre for urology services, a surgical centre for complex renal cancers and provides a pelvic floor dysfunction unit for patients from across Essex.
The new, purpose-designed unit will provide additional outpatient space, treatment rooms and test facilities to increase the number of patients that can be treated and reduce waiting times and the hospital to increase the number of patients it sees as outpatients and provide extra space in theatres, meaning that more patients can be seen and treated more quickly.
At the moment, patients who need assessment of pelvic floor disorders have to travel to London to access specialist equipment used for diagnosis. Once the new unit is built, the hospital will have the capability to provide these tests locally. The pelvic floor service provides a wide range of outpatient services, and brings experts together to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with pelvic floor problems.
Sampi Mehta, consultant urological surgeon and clinical lead, said: "This isn't just a step in the right direction for our patients and cancer services, it is a huge leap forward. Developing a urology and pelvic floor unit provides a fantastic opportunity to increase efficiency, improve patient flow and reduce waiting list pressures. Much of this can be achieved by delivering services through the 'one-stop clinic' environment; and this vision can now become reality as the department is being designed to provide clinical treatment rooms as well as consulting rooms in one collocated area.
"In turn, this will provide the vital additional capacity required to meet the increasing demand for outpatient and day case procedures thereby enabling the service to achieve its referral to treatment targets. Most importantly this will enhance the quality of the patient environment and experience."
It is an area that is expected to continue growing given Southend urology's Cancer Centre status and the increase in other work, such as stones and complex kidney cancer cases, now referred to Southend.