Major surgery for GP system

A RADICAL new shake up of healthcare is planned in Ipswich over the next decade, it was revealed today.Eight new "super centres" are earmarked for the area replacing inadequate and outdated buildings with specialist care centres.

A RADICAL new shake up of healthcare is planned in Ipswich over the next decade, it was revealed today.

Eight new "super centres" are earmarked for the area replacing inadequate and outdated buildings with specialist care centres.

This will mean that some GP surgeries will be closing in the town to make way for the new clinics.

Ipswich Primary Care Trust is leading the developments and the plans are soon to be put out to consultation in the community to see what patients think.


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Specialist skin clinics, physiotherapists, orthopaedic and community clinics could all be included along with up to 15 GP's in a "one-stop shop" of health care.

Construction of the centres will be funded by the controversial private finance initiative.

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Under the proposals, minor surgery and X-rays could be carried out at the centres rather than Ipswich Hospital.

Lilian Power, chairman of Ipswich Primary Care Trust, said: "This is all being done with the help of the GPs. We have eight practices at the moment which really need to move.

"But it will not happen without the consent of the GPs."

Ms Power said that if GPs would not be forced to move if they did not want to.

She said: "There are some GPs who like the intimacy of a small practice and so do their patients, so they need not move."

With the national shortage of GPs, Ms Power said the new "super centres" were one way of trying to attract more people into the profession.

It is thought the process will take around ten years to complete although it is hoped that some will be moving within the next two or three years, she added.

Ms Power said that one of the problems was finding the right places to develop as the centres will need lots of space.

The plans are going to be out to public consultation in September, asking people where the centres should be placed and what particular facilities would be required.

Christine Smart, chairman of Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust board, said that the new moves will take some of the pressures off the hospital.

She said: "There is so much that can be done there such as minor surgery and low back pain clinics.

"These are the issues that we are looking at and it will really ease the pressure on the orthopaedic consultants."

She said that in the future there would be no reason that GPs could not x-ray broken limbs and even plaster them without people going to the hospital.

Even complimentary therapies could be included in the new centres.

Ms Power said that the plans are not set in stone and the number of clinics could change as well as the locations.

She added that the centres would have to be paid for through the private finance initiative.

She said: "The NHS has been severely under funded for decades.

"If we are going to build it up to European standards then we have to seriously invest in it."

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