Flood problems pressure waiting times

A FLOOD at Ipswich Hospital's new £26million centre has today put it at risk of failing to hit targets for waiting times.However the hospital's chief executive has pledged that despite the hold-ups of moving to the centre the hospital should reach the 18 week referral to treatment target set by the government.

A FLOOD at Ipswich Hospital's new £26million centre has today put it at risk of failing to hit targets for waiting times.

However the hospital's chief executive has pledged that despite the hold-ups of moving to the centre the hospital should reach the 18 week referral to treatment target set by the government.

According to a report from Tracy Dowling, the hospital's director of service and delivery and improvement, the delay to the opening of the Garrett Anderson Centre has meant additional operations in other wards will have to be arranged to compensate.

The new centre was due to open last month but a serious water leak has caused major problems meaning the opening date has been put back. Wards could now move to the centre at the beginning of March but operating theatres are not expected to be open until April.

The combination of the delays to the Garrett Anderson Centre and an extremely busy period for the hospital over the winter months means it may also need to use the independent sector to make sure it meets the target of 18 weeks.

But Andrew Reed, the hospital's chief executive, said: “The hospital is on track to meet the Department of Health's 18 week referral to treatment standard for patients needing elective care. Hard work is being put in at both clinical and management level to ensure we achieve it.

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"By March the hospital is expected to have 85 per cent of patients falling within the 18 week timeframe.

“Our new Garrett Anderson Centre will provide the hospital with four modern day surgery theatres which we planned to use throughout the coming weeks to help meet the 18 week referral to treatment national standard.

“Unfortunately, due to a water leak in the building while it is still in the hands of contractors, the handover of the new facility and therefore the transfer of patients has been delayed.

“However we have contingencies in place to use existing two day surgery theatres more intensively, by increasing theatre capacity, and the hospital board is confident the 85pc target will still be achieved.”

Have you faced a long wait from treatment? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

18 week referral to treatment

In June 2004 the NHS improvement plan stated that: “By 2008, no one will have to wait longer than 18 weeks from GP referral to hospital treatment

The NHS initiative sets an 18 week limit from the point of a patient's initial referral from their GP up to the start of any treatment necessary

By March NHS organisations need to treat 85 per cent of patients admitted to hospital and 90pc of outpatients within 18 weeks

By December NHS organisations need to treat 90 per cent of patients admitted to hospital and 95pc of outpatients within 18 weeks

SOURCE: NHS