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Orthopaedic surgery changes for Ipswich Hospital recommended for approval

PUBLISHED: 18:43 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 19:01 06 July 2020

Changes to orthopaedic surgery at Ipswich Hospital have been recommended for approval Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Changes to orthopaedic surgery at Ipswich Hospital have been recommended for approval Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Health bosses have recommended that changes to orthopaedic surgery at Ipswich Hospital are given the go ahead.

Plans are currently being looked at which would see elective orthopaedic surgeries moved to Colchester Hospital and the hip and knee theatres at Ipswich Hospital closed.

Now a recommendation has been made by the Joint Reconfiguration Oversight Group calling for health bosses to give the plans the go-ahead when they meet next week.

In the notes for the agenda, Dr Shane Gordon, director of strategy, innovation and research at ESNEFT said that the changes were necessary to improve waiting times.

“One of our key priorities as an ICS in Suffolk and North East Essex is to ensure that our patients have access to timely, high quality orthopaedic care,” said Dr Gordon.

“Although the quality of care at both hospitals is good, even excellent, the waiting times for surgery have deteriorated significantly over the last five years.

“Alongside this, the ICS remains committed to the vibrant future of Ipswich Hospital, serving the needs of our community.”

Despite these reassurances, Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere described Ipswich Hospital earlier this week as having “deteriorated” since its merger with Colchester two years ago.

Last week a petition was created calling for the changes to be halted amid fears the site would become a “Frankenstein hospital” with services sent elsewhere.

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To date the petition has been signed over 8,000 times and is due to be formally presented at next week’s meeting.

However, in an open letter to the paper last week Dr Ed Garratt, chief of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, and ESNEFT chief Nick Hulme, raised concerns about the petition saying that they were “very concerned that the petition is causing unnecessary concern and fear”.

They also said that the petition was “based on an inaccurate assertion that all orthopaedic services will be closed at Ipswich Hospital” when emergency operations would still be there along with day surgery for hands and wrists.

An adjournment debate is due to be held on Tuesday morning in the House of Commons over the future of orthopaedic surgery at the hospital following concerns from Ipswich MP Tom Hunt.

Speaking on Monday afternoon, Mr Hunt said he would be doing everything he could to stop the plans going ahead.

“I am not surprised at all that this is the recommendation,” said Mr Hunt.

Mr Hunt said he had not been pleased with the decision making process and questioned the extent to which it addressed the concerns of communities within Suffolk.

“I don’t have a massive amount of respect for the decision making process,” said Mr Hunt.

“It’s not just a concern for my constituents but the constituencies in the area around Ipswich Hospital.

“I will be calling on the Government to intervene and try and make sure this doesn’t happen.”

A final decision on the surgery plans is set to be made on July 14.


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