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Hospital bids for £25m cash injection

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:37 03 March 2010

IPSWICH hospital could be on the brink of a huge £25million overhaul the Evening Star can reveal today.

Just four months after we revealed insider concerns from doctors that the busy intensive care unit could close, bosses at the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust are about to put in a bid for a multimillion pound venture providing a new critical care unit as well as diagnostic treatment centres in the community.

IPSWICH hospital could be on the brink of a huge £25million overhaul the Evening Star can reveal today.

Just four months after we revealed insider concerns from doctors that the busy intensive care unit could close, bosses at the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust are about to put in a bid for a multimillion pound venture providing a new critical care unit as well as diagnostic treatment centres in the community.

However the bid costs more than double that of an £11million one that was given back to the Trust to revise last year because it was thought to be too expensive.

Last July it was back to the drawing board for the Trust for a new proposal which could see Ipswich with state of the art equipment, waiting times cut and operations less likely to be cancelled.

Chris Dooley, acting chief executive of the Trust said that the joint venture was now considered to be more cost effective than previous bids. The cost of the critical care unit alone is £5million less than the earlier bid.

If accepted Ipswich will have four new operating theatres, which will double the amount they currently have, more than 40 extra short stay beds and around 30 new day case beds.

Diagnostic treatment centres could be set up around east Suffolk so people do not have to travel in from places like Felixstowe and Woodbridge for simple procedures like X-rays.

Extra beds and more day care facilities mean that waiting lists should be reduced and elective procedures such as hernia operations are less likely to be cancelled when emergency cases come in.

It has already been recognised by the Strategic Health Authority that improvements are needed in the intensive care unit.

Mr Dooley said: "At the moment it is too small and outdated.

"The technology is much bigger than it was and we do not have the space.

"We have had more and more admissions over the years and the capacity in critical care has become tight.

"This is the most exciting development in the trust in the last few years."

If approved, the new critical care unit should take around two to three years to build.

When asked what would happen if the bid should be refused Mr Dooley said: "I would hope that it does get accepted.

"We have already sent a draft report off to the SHA so they are not seeing it cold.

"I think there is a lot of support around the whole issue."

In May, bosses at the Strategic Health Authority vehemently denied fears that the intensive care unit was to close and stated that it was poised not just to rebuild the unit but to improve the whole hospital.

Paul Kemp, director of performance and finance at the SHA said in May that the original proposal had been returned because to build an £11million intensive care unit seemed quite expensive when compared to how other hospitals in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire had done it.

But he added that Ipswich Hospital needed a broader look than just intensive care, which would cost more than £11million.

Hospital facts:

Last year more than 363,000 patients went through the hospital.

Five million pathology tests were carried out.

More than 8,000 people use the site each day.

23,000 outpatients went to the hospital in July alone this year

1908 people did not attend

1995 people went in as emergency admissions

ITU facts

Currently the hospital has just six critical care beds, but a hospital the size of Heath Road should have 16.

There are two high dependency beds, which run at 91 per cent occupancy rather than the targeted 75 per cent.

The unit is designed to offer the best care for patients who have just undergone major surgery, people who have been seriously injured in road accidents or people suffering from serious diseases.

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