PATIENTS requiring certain operations should be able to look forward to reductions in waiting times after improvements were announced to operating theatres.

A £300,000 investment in theatres at Burnley General Hospital is intended to lead to earlier admissions for plan-ned orthopaedic surgery.

The theatres are used for operations such as hip and knee replacement, upper limb procedures and foot and ankle surgery.

The cash will be spent upgrading two operating theatres in the Wilson Hey Block, so that they can now be used for orthopaedic patients.

The work is planned to start over the quieter Christmas period for minimum disruption.

The money will be used to install two Ultraclean Ventilation Units in the theatres.

The ventilation system is used in all modern orthopaedic theatres to reduce infection rates after surgery.

Consultant orthopaedic sur-geon Chris Thomas said: “This improvement will have benefits for local people by reducing the waiting times for often life changing surgery.

“It will also enable more patients to have their elective orthopaedic surgery performed at Burnley General Hospital.

“This significant investment is an integral part of the planned service developments for the hospital over the coming years.”

Currently more than 5,500 planned orthopaedic operations are carried out each year at Burnley.