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Plans lodged for new foot surgery facility in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 15:42 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:42 10 June 2020

The existing foot surgery unit at ESNEFT's Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The existing foot surgery unit at ESNEFT's Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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Plans have been lodged by Ipswich’s hospital trust to knock down a foot surgery unit and replace it with a new one.

The existing foot surgery unit at ESNEFT's Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe existing foot surgery unit at ESNEFT's Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust lodged plans with Ipswich Borough Council to dispose of the mobile podiatric surgery unit at its Walker Close facility, with a new up-to-date unit in its place.

According to the plans, the mobile unit has been in place since 2010 but “has become apparent that the hospital trust will not be able to negotiate an acceptable arrangement to retain the current facilities, and have therefore made the decision to replace this with a new theatre”.

A trust spokeswoman said: “The application is to replace the existing mobile theatre unit with a new modular unit to continue to provide high quality treatment and care.”

It is not yet clear how much the project will cost, but trust bosses acknowledged it had been hindered by the Covid-19 response, which needed to take priority.

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The Walker Close hospital site was developed in 1989, originally as a residential care facility for mental health patients, but in 1993 began hosting podiatric clinics and physiotherapy exercise services.

According to plans, that facility became unfit for continued use by 2010, which was when the current mobile unit was established.

It hosts nearly 500 foot, ankle and lower extremity surgery procedures each year, with the service in Ipswich receiving nearly 2,000 new referrals for surgery or clinics each year.

The unit closed on March 23 under the coronavirus lockdown measures, with around 45 patients planned for procedures since then having their surgery delayed.

In the application, bosses said: “The service had anticipated a period of down time for removal of the existing unit, enabling works and commissioning of the new unit, and had taken steps to mitigate against any significant disruption to patient waiting times.

“The objective now for the project team involved in replacing the theatre unit is to minimise any further periods of theatre downtime which would negatively affect patient waiting times.”

The application is expected to be decided this summer, with work likely to begin relatively quickly after approval in order to reduce any further delays on treatment.


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