Construction work has begun on Fife’s new £33 million orthopaedic centre.
The state-of-the-art facility will host three operating theatres, an inpatient ward and outpatient services in the grounds of Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.
It will be built opposite the entrance to the accident and emergency department in what is currently car park H.
Car parking spaces lost as a result of the development will be replaced elsewhere on the hospital grounds.
Planning permission was granted earlier this year and ground has now been broken on the new build.
The Scottish Government formally approved the full business case late last year.
It is the largest capital project undertaken by NHS Fife since the opening of Victoria Hospital’s new wing in 2012.
It is expected to take around 18 months to complete.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman is pleased work has finally begun.
“The Fife Elective Orthopaedic Centre will provide safe, modern and improved patient services for the people of Fife,” she said.
“It is a key part of the Scottish Government’s elective care programme to provide additional capacity in our NHS.
“Elective care centres like this will be particularly important as we remobilise NHS services in the wake of the pandemic.
“I’m grateful to all those involved for their work so far, and I look forward to seeing this project progress.”
The centre will ensure Fife’s orthopaedic services can meet increasing demand for interventions such as hip or knee replacements.
They are now among the most common surgical procedures undertaken by the NHS in Scotland.
Fife is already a centre of innovation in orthopaedic surgery and pioneered hip and knee replacement as day cases.
NHS Fife chairwoman Tricia Marwick said: “We are fortunate here in Fife to have perhaps the most innovative and person-centred team of orthopaedic clinicians in the country.
“The development of the new orthopaedic centre will help us make the most of the considerable clinical expertise we have available and ensure we can meet the increasing demand for this vital service, whilst also cementing NHS Fife’s position at the heart of orthopaedic excellence in Scotland.”
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Andy Ballantyne said he had enjoyed developing the project.
“Getting to this stage is the result of five years of work and commitment by wider project team, and staff have contributed enthusiastically in helping drive this project forward.
“We can look forward to an exciting future with a modern purpose-built facility from which to deliver planned orthopaedic services to the people of Fife.”