A HOSPITAL is investing £7 million to improve the way it diagnoses patients.

The endoscopy department at Worthing Hospital will more than double in size following a major expansion.

Endoscopies involve the use of a thin tube, usually pushed down the throat, to examine the inside of a body and help diagnose some conditions.

These include bowel and other types of cancers, ulcers and the causes of abdominal or chest pain, nausea and vomiting, heartburn and bleeding.

The hospital’s west wing ground floor will be redeveloped to provide patients with new single-sex recovery areas, more treatment rooms, and new and improved reception and waiting areas.

Five new endoscopy rooms will replace the current three and extra sessions will be provided in the evening or at the weekend.

Demand for endoscopy services is increasing, driven by the needs of an ageing population, as well as the requirements of the National Bowel Screening Programme for the over-50s.

Over the next five years it is forecast demand for endoscopy procedures across Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust will rise to more than 28,000, up from the 17,820 procedures carried out last year.

The new-look department is expected to be finished by autumn 2015.