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Ipswich MP and council unite in bid to axe move of orthopaedic surgery out of town

PUBLISHED: 05:30 24 June 2020

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere have written a joint letter to the CCG calling for a rethink of orthopaedic surgery plans. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere have written a joint letter to the CCG calling for a rethink of orthopaedic surgery plans. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

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Ipswich political leaders have united in condemning plans to move hip and knee surgery out of the town, and urged the final decision makers not to pursue the proposals.

The current orthopaedic and fracture clinic at Ipswich Hospital Picture: ARCHANTThe current orthopaedic and fracture clinic at Ipswich Hospital Picture: ARCHANT

The hospital trust which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals is planning to build a brand new centre for elective orthopaedic surgery at its Colchester site and close the hip and knee theatres in Ipswich, as a means of addressing high levels of cancellations and lengthy waiting lists in Ipswich.

MORE: Hospital boss explains why Ipswich cannot maintain orthopaedic surgery

Both Conservative MP for the town Tom Hunt and Labour leader of Ipswich Borough Council David Ellesmere have previously voiced their concerns, and have now put their political differences aside to pen a joint letter to Ed Garratt, chief officer of Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, which makes the final decision next month with the North East Essex CCG, urging them not to pursue the proposals.

The pair said: “As the local MP and the local borough council leader we have both carefully assessed the proposals and essentially come to the same conclusion.

“We believe that what is proposed is not in the interests of either our local hospital or the people of Ipswich and I believe that local CCG would do well to bear this in mind when they make a decision next month.”

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere have written a joint letter to the CCG calling for a rethink of orthopaedic surgery plans. Picture: ARCHANTIpswich MP Tom Hunt and Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere have written a joint letter to the CCG calling for a rethink of orthopaedic surgery plans. Picture: ARCHANT

The letter highlighted the travel concerns, disquiet from some of the Ipswich surgeons and a lack of clarity on why the Ipswich sites put forward were not suitable.

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The letter continued: “The proposals would put Ipswich Hospital in the highly unusual position of being a general hospital which doesn’t provide elective orthopaedic surgery.

“Based on figures from 2018, Ipswich Hospital serves around 390,000 people and we aren’t aware of any other general hospital of a similar size in the East of England which doesn’t offer a full complement of orthopaedic services.”

An artist's impression of what the new orthopaedic centre will look like in Colchester. Picture: ESNEFTAn artist's impression of what the new orthopaedic centre will look like in Colchester. Picture: ESNEFT

MORE: Ipswich surgeons speak out against orthopaedic surgery move

The letter has called for the money to be split across improving services at both sites.

In a separate letter to the health minister, West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, Mr Hunt and Mr Ellesmere urged him to “take a personal interest in this case and consider supporting the drawing-up of new plans which would mean neither hospital has to lose out”.

A Department for Health spokeswoman earlier this week said Mr Hancock was being kept up to date with the matter.

Earlier this week, East Suffolk and North East Essex NHS Foundation trust chief executive Nick Hulme said investment in both sites would cost around £75million, while the Colchester bid would only be up to £45m.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals said keeping orthopaedic surgery in Ipswich was not an affordable option. Picture: ARCHANTNick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals said keeping orthopaedic surgery in Ipswich was not an affordable option. Picture: ARCHANT

MORE: Consultation finds nearly two thirds against hospital orthopaedic plans

He said that the consultation had been carried out to understand people’s concerns so that the final plans could address those issues, and stressed that all pre-op and post-op appointments could still take place in Ipswich if that was a patient’s nearest hospital.

Ed Garratt said that “no decision has been made” yet but that the CCGs had been “supportive of the direction” so far.


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