MAJOR improvement works have started at the John Radcliffe Hospital which will impact surgeries for the next three months.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the John Radcliffe, said 'various items of air handling equipment' in the theatre complex at the site's West Wing were being replaced.

The trust said the equipment was more than 12 years old and needed to be upgraded adding Bouygues would be managing the works, with the cost funded by the project company.

Emergency, maternity, and gynaecology theatres at the JR are not affected by the work, which started on Saturday and is set to continue until October 25.

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A statement from the trust, explaining the impact on patients, said: "In order to maintain as much emergency, urgent, and elective work as possible, some services will be relocated from the West Wing at the John Radcliffe to the Churchill Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, where they will merge with other existing theatre lists."

It added: "Patients will be advised about any change in the location of their surgery in their appointment letters and in pre-operative communications."

Half the theatres in the West Wing will remain operational while work is carried out on other theatres, so neurosurgery, children’s surgery, and specialist surgery will continue in the West Wing in the first phases of the works.

All theatres in the West Wing will be closed for the final nine days of the works programme.

It comes just over a year after operations had be delayed due to problems with the ventilation system in the John Radcliffe's West Wing.

The hospital also last month opened its new £13.8m upgraded emergency department.