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Ipswich and Colchester hospitals boss Nick Hulme stopped in tracks by Beast from the East

PUBLISHED: 15:12 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:13 01 March 2018

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture: PAGEPIX

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture: PAGEPIX

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The Beast from the East showed no mercy for one of the region’s most important NHS figures who was forced to abandon his journey to work due to hazardous roads.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, left his home near Framlingham at 5am today to start his voyage to Ipswich but every route he tried was blocked by stranded vehicles or large snowdrifts.

Along the way he stopped to free a couple of cars that were stuck in the sludge, and even gave one man a lift home because his vehicle wouldn’t budge.

By 7am, Mr Hulme had to give up and turned back to run the two hospitals from his desk at home.

“I think this is the only time I have ever had to abandon my journey to work in nearly 40 years,” he said.

The estates team at Ipswich Hosptial salting and clearing paths. Picture: GARETH PERKINS The estates team at Ipswich Hosptial salting and clearing paths. Picture: GARETH PERKINS

“I’m pretty determined. I left at 5am to give myself some time. I tried to find different routes and every way I went there were either abandoned cars blocking the road or snow drifts.

“The good thing about technology is I can work from home. I have called both hospitals just making sure everything is safe.

“I hadn’t quite realised how many hills there are in this village because you don’t realise they are hills until you try and drive up one in the snow. You think it’s just a slope but then it becomes a treacherous mountain.

“The snow drifts are the main problem because of the exposed fields and it’s just blown the snow across.

“I think it’s -4C (24.8F) out there at the moment so the snow is compacting and now frozen so people are sliding all over the place.”

Mr Hulme said Ipswich and Colchester hospitals were coping well in the face of adversity, with strong contingency plans in place for the severe weather.

He urged patients to only travel to appointments if it was safe to do so, reassuring that they would not be placed at the back of the queue if they needed to cancel.

The two trusts are putting plans in place for an expected increase in patients suffering from injuries caused by slips and falls in the comings days as the snow turns to ice.

Mr Hulme praised his staff for their dedication during the cold snap, giving special mention to the estates teams who have made the paths around the hospitals safe.

“They are often the unsung heroes of the hospitals,” he added.

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