Intensive care aims for major cash injection

Welcome to our weekly page looking back through our extensive archives. Today we look back at what was hitting the headlines on Thursday, September 12 2002.

Ipswich hospital hit the headlines in September 2002 as it prepared to bid for a massive cash injection to overhaul intensive care.

Under our long running Hospital Watch campaign we reported that NHS bosses were about to bid for a multi million pound venture to provide a new critical care unit at the heath road site.

Our health reporter revealed that the bid came just four months after insider concerns from doctors that the hospital’s intensive care unit could close.

The article went on to say that the bid was more than double a previous bid for funds which was handed back to the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust the previous year as it was deemed too expensive.

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

If accepted, the report added, Ipswich would have four new operating theatres, more than 40 extra short-stay beds and around 30 new day case beds.

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Furthermore it was reported that the bid could include diagnostic treatment centres to be set up around East Suffolk so people would not have to travel from places like Felixstowe and Woodbridge for simple procedures like X-Rays.

The Strategic Health Authority (SHA) had already accepted that improvements were needed at the intensive care unit.

Speaking exclusively to The Star, acting chief executive at the hospital Chris Dooley said: “At the moment it is too small and outdated. The technology is much bigger than it was and we don’t 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.”

It was estimated the new critical care unit would take about two to three years to build.

Mr Dooley added: “I would hope that it (the bid) 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.”