No Christmas operations at hospital

IPSWICH Hospital is considering not scheduling any routine operations next Christmas to help them cope if there is a surge in people needing urgent treatment.

IPSWICH Hospital is considering not scheduling any routine operations next Christmas to help them cope if there is a surge in people needing urgent treatment.

This year the hospital has been overwhelmed by the number of people needing urgent treatment during the winter months and was forced to cancel all non-urgent operations from December 31.

By the beginning of this week the hospital was back on track and had rescheduled all the cancelled procedures, but its management is already considering how to prepare for similar problems next year.

In December 2008 the hospital's Accident and Emergency department saw 4,724 people come through its doors - an increase of almost 15 per cent from the 4,113 it saw in December 2007.


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Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “We will plan for next year and look at whether next year we won't plan any elective care. But it is a balancing act.

“We may have the physical capacity to care for more people but we can't afford to staff areas of the hospital that would not normally be needed on the basis that they might be needed under certain circumstances.

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“It is about using public money wisely.”

She said that although the hospital expects to see an increase in the number of people coming to the hospital each year, because of a growing elderly population in Suffolk, staff had not anticipated such a large surge.

Ms Rowsell added: “Planning does take into account growing numbers but we were even busier than we thought we would be.

“It got considerably worse at the end of December with a huge influx of people. We had to cancel operations because of the sheer volume of people who needed care at that time.

“We are always looking to get better but staff have worked extremely hard and we have managed to cope.”

Was your operation cancelled at short notice? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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