Hospital ordered to buck up its ideas

IPSWICH Hospital has been ordered to improve over a trio of key healthcare goals today.

Rebecca Lefort

IPSWICH Hospital has been ordered to improve over a trio of key healthcare goals today.

NHS Suffolk handed three performance notices to the hospital after it:

Cancelled too many operations at short notice,

Missed targets for treating people quickly enough at Accident and Emergency,

Failed to provide enough choose and book appointment slots.

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The notices are the second stage of a disciplinary process which began because NHS Suffolk, which commissions services in the county, said Ipswich Hospital had failed to meet its contractual obligations.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said she believed it was the first time the hospital had been issued with performance notices.

She added: “Obviously we want to avoid being issued with any further performance notices.

“They are warning signals highlighting that more needs to be done to achieve the levels of care that the commissioners want.

“It is their way of saying they are anxious about things.

“We put together an action plan which needs to be approved by the commissioners.”

The hospital is currently postponing non-urgent operations to cope with a massive increase in the number of people who needed treatment over the New Year period, but Ms Rowsell said the hospital hoped NHS Suffolk would understand the reasons for the cancellations and not issue another performance notice.

Tracy Dowling, director of strategic commissioning at NHS Suffolk, said: “These notices are an important part of our pro-active approach to working effectively with our providers to make sure our patients get the best possible standards of service.

“A notice is issued if performance dips below the levels set out in the contract we have with our service providers.

“It is a formal means of agreeing actions to improve performance back up the levels we have contracted.”

Have you received particularly good or bad care at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

A FRUSTRATED patient today criticised an expensive health system which he said wasn't wanted and doesn't work.

Arthur Fuller, 79, tried to use the controversial choose and book system when arranging an appointment at Ipswich Hospital.

Yet the bookings system, which is designed to give patients a choice of when and where they are treated, failed to arrange an appointment.

It also resulted in Mr Fuller, who spent 22 years as a lorry driver in the army, receiving a series of confusing letters from as far away as Portsmouth

Mr Fuller, of Westminster Close, Ipswich, said: “I suffered with a joint problem and my doctor told me I needed to see a rheumatologist.

“I got a code number, a phone number and lots of paperwork to call Ipswich Hospital.

“The first time I called they said they couldn't do it then. The second time I was told I still couldn't book but I would be sent an appointment time, which I was.

“But then I kept getting more letters from Portsmouth and Milton Keynes saying I hadn't booked and one saying they'd tried to call me but I wasn't in - but no one left a message.

“I ended up with about ten full sheets of paper - it was ridiculous.”

Mr Fuller, who has two children and three grandchildren, eventually got his hospital appointment, but said the saga left him disillusioned with the system.

He added: “I don't want a choice of hospital, of course I'm going to choose Ipswich Hospital because it's so close.

“It seems a waste to spend all this time and money on a system that people don't want, especially when it doesn't work properly.”

Tracy Dowling, director of strategic commissioning for NHS Suffolk, said: “We don't comment on individual cases, but if any patient thinks they're receiving letters due to an administrative error, they should get in touch with us or their hospital so we can sort it out.”

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