GP surgery could become op theatre
AN Ipswich doctors' surgery could soon double up as an operating theatre to help Suffolk make the best use of space for NHS patients.With 97 per cent of beds at Ipswich Hospital usually full, and people routinely waiting for 15 months to be admitted, yet no new resources on the horizon, the town's new Primary Care Group is looking at where else patients can be treated.
By Tracey Sparling
AN Ipswich doctors' surgery could soon double up as an operating theatre to help Suffolk make the best use of space for NHS patients.
With 97 per cent of beds at Ipswich Hospital usually full, and people routinely waiting for 15 months to be admitted, yet no new resources on the horizon, the town's new Primary Care Group is looking at where else patients can be treated.
A £2.5million proposal to be discussed at the PCG board meeting on Wednesday sets out a plan to help more patients get treated faster in East Suffolk.
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It includes equipping the existing GP practice in Ivry Street to be a 'minor surgical unit,' operating seven sessions a week to do cataracts, hernias, urology and plastic surgery – at an extra cost of £505,000 to set up.
Surgeons and anaesthetists could get together to block buy treatment at the recently-expanded Nuffield Private Hospitals to get value for money.
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Orthopaedic patients would be offered alternative care from a team of musculoskeletal physicans, nurse specialists and physiotherapists.
Intermediate and rehabilitation patients will be given beds in inpatient facilities, to release acute beds, until the new Ravenswood health complex opens in 2004/5.
Patients will be offered a choice of where to be treated, and waiting should be slashed to a maximum of nine months.
Latest figures reveal there are 2,062 people waiting more than six months to see a consultant in the seven specialities under most pressure.
They include the ear, nose and throat department, opthalmology, oral surgery, orthopaedics, plastic surgery and urology. Of those, 267 had been waiting more than a year.
Bids for funds are being submitted by East Suffolk health providers including Ipswich Hospital, PCTS in Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal, and Central Suffolk, and the new Strategic Health Authority for Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
A report due to be considered states: "This proposal looks at a whole system approach to using existing capacity within primary, secondary and independent sector, to enable reductions in wait for elective admission and choice for patients."