Long wait for intensive care cash

PUBLISHED: 16:18 13 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:39 03 March 2010

THREE long years could pass before the people of Suffolk benefit from Ipswich Hospital's £24m bid for a new critical care unit, but public support will be a vital factor.

By Tracey Sparling

Health and Education Editor>

THREE long years could pass before the people of Suffolk benefit from Ipswich Hospital's £24m bid for a new critical care unit, but public support will be a vital factor.

The plan to build a four-storey diagnostic centre to include a new intensive are unit, in front of the child health building at Heath Road, was exclusively revealed in the Evening Star on Thursday.

At the moment, the unit is so cramped that the space around each bed where patients lie fighting for their lives, is only half what it should be, but bosses yesterday estimated it will take years to turn their dream into reality.

Speaking at an Ipswich Hospital board meeting, Debbie Oades assistant director of elective care, said the unit would enable the hospital to meet a dozen national targets including waits of less than three-months for day surgery, and less than 13 weeks for outpatient appointments.

The huge bid for funds will be considered by the Strategic Health Authority based in cambridge, in November, where bosses have already recognised the need to delelop critical care servcies at Ipswich. The unti would also cost £5m a year to run.

Acting chief executive Chris Dooley said: "This scheme will take three years to get up and running. I have asked them - considering the urgent need for it - if they will give us an indication of whether it will go ahead. I am hoping for an early indication within the next two months. Financial approval will still have to go through the Strategic Health Authority."

He added: "We desperately need this when you compare our caapcity and demand for services."

Grace McManus from East Suffolk Community Health Council asked what would happen if the funds were not agreed in full, and director of nursing Clare Barlow said: "We would not be able to achieve the targets we would have been able to, had we got the new unit. The Strategic Health Authority understands that very well."

She added: "It is vital that the town of Ipswich gets behind this plan. Years ago, Ipswich Hospital was created for the town, and this is the next big step. We need as much support as possible, from the press, MPs, and the people of Suffolk."

She extended an invitation for anyone who wants to fidn out more about the hospital, to arrange a visit.

The new unit would include:

a new trauma and orthopaedic clinic

a critical care unit

four operating theatres

step down beds for recovering patients

hotel beds for relatives of patients

upgrading x-ray and ultrasound in community hospitals, and provide mobile facilities

relocation of opthalmology theatres to the old day case surgery unit

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