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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Heart unit 'to cut waiting lists'
About 3,000 patients will be seen at the clinic every year
Work has begun on a cardiac clinic in Aberdeen that aims to improve care for more than 3,000 patients across the north of Scotland.

The two purpose-designed laboratories will be built at the city's Royal Infirmary.

The new 4.5m facilities will provide diagnosis and treatment for patients from Grampian, Orkney, Shetland, the Highlands and Tayside.

Health experts said the new centre would help reduce waiting lists.

Doctor Malcolm Metcalfe, lead clinician for the north of Scotland for coronary heart disease, said both emergency and non-emergency patients could be see by doctors faster than ever once the centre opened.

He added: "If we didn't have the expansion of the capability to do these procedures then we would accumulate enormous waiting lists, which is not fair for patients.

"The increased level of facilities should mean that patients who on current waiting lists will be treated more promptly.

"It also means that the emergency patients who are a considerable portion of out workload, will be able to get even prompter than they do at the moment."

'Spacious environment'

It is expected that more than 3,000 patients will use the new premises each year, including its four three-bedded wards and a patient recovery unit.

The site is next to the current cardiology in-patient wards and out-patient department and will be connected by a new internal corridor linked to the acute hospital complex.

It will eventually also connect to an emergency care centre, planned for south of the site.

Dr Stephen Walton, cardiac clinic director said: "This is a very important development in cardiac care, because it will bring our facilities under one roof with our specialists working in, or next to, the building.

"It will provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art and spacious environment for our patients."

The construction work is expected to take about three months to complete, and will be carried out by the same team responsible for the new Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital at Foresterhill.

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