More hospital closures on the way

IPSWICH Hospital has today announced plans to close two wards, one theatre and its patient hotel, as the true scale of Suffolk's health crisis becomes clear.

IPSWICH Hospital has today announced plans to close two wards, one theatre and its patient hotel, as the true scale of Suffolk's health crisis becomes clear.

As previously reported in The Evening Star, Ipswich Hospital had proposed to close up to 80 beds.

The details of this proposal have now become clear.

It would mean closing Shotley Ward and Bealings Ward, closing one theatre and closing the patient hotel.

Care that would have been providing on Shotley Ward would instead be provided on Woodbridge ward.

An elderly short-stay unit would be provided on Grundisburgh ward, while gastroenterology patients who would have been cared for on this ward would be cared for elsewhere in the hospital.

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Members of the hospital's board are expected to make their final decision at a private board meeting on August 12.

There is also a proposal to close the Hayward Day Hospital, which is based on the hospital site and currently helps around 15 patients a day, and provide the services it offers in a different way.

This proposal is under a three-month public consultation.

The hospital needs to save £6.9m and pay back debts of £4.7m by March next year.

But the hospital says the closures are also driven by a need to modernise services and ensure people are not kept in hospital unnecessarily when they could be cared for elsewhere.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: "These are all changes which we may have made over the coming months but the challenging financial situation has mean that we have had to speed up some of the processes.

"Nothing will be done which will affect the quality of patients' care."

Unlike many of the other closures which are being proposed across Suffolk, there is not a legal requirement for the hospital to hold a three-month consultation period over the possible closure of up to 80 beds, because it is not deemed "substantive".

"What we will do is make sure everybody is aware of these changes and we will hold consultation with our staff."

Are you going to be affected by the changes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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