Construction work is under way on a £215,000 extension to Ripley Community Hospital which will improve patient facilities for blood testing.
The hospital’s League of Friends has led fundraising efforts on the project, which is expected to be completed early next year at the Sandham Lane site.
League of Friends chairman Phyllis Holmes said: “We are delighted to be able to support this project to improve the environment for patients coming into the hospital for blood tests.”
Builders are creating the new phlebotomy department and extended waiting area in the courtyard off the current waiting room.
The number of patients coming to Ripley Community Hospital for blood tests has grown steadily in recent year and outgrown the available space.
It is not unusual for 100 patients to be seen in a morning for blood tests at Ripley, making it one of the hospital’s busiest services.
The new extension will include a purpose-built clinical room with three patient phlebotomy chairs.
There are currently only two chairs, so hospital bosses hope that, once work is completed, patients will be seen more quickly as well as waiting in more comfortable surrounds.
That should, in turn, relieve pressure on staff and patients for the hospital’s other services.
Erin Marshall, hospital spokesman for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an exciting time for us, having the final go-ahead for this hospital extension and welcoming the builders in this week.
“We are anticipating that the work will take around four months to complete so it should all be finished sometime in February.”
She added: “We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while the work is underway.
“Unfortunately we’ve had temporarily to close the children’s play area which is in the middle of the construction area but we’ll have it back in action just as soon as we can.”
Ripley Hospital’s League of Friends is a registered charity, run by a group of volunteers working year round to raise funds, host events and run services such as the hospital tea bar.
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust cares for patients across 133 sites including 11 community hospitals and 30 health centres across Derbyshire, with nearly 1.5 million patient contacts each year.