PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:31 03 March 2010

TONSIL and adenoid operations are finally due be re-started at Ipswich Hospital, after new supplies of disposable operating instruments have been delivered.

TONSIL and adenoid operations are finally due be re-started at Ipswich Hospital, after new supplies of disposable operating instruments have been delivered.

The news comes as many other operations are still having to be cancelled, because elderly bedblockers can't be found alternative care.

All non-urgent tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies were stopped at the nation's hospitals at the start of this year, because the British Association of Otolaryngologists Head and Neck Surgeons decided there was a risk of spreading variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease when re-usable instruments were sterilised.

The Evening Star featured the story of ten-year-old Steven Bird, whose father Tony had to order disposable instruments himself by e-mail so Ipswich Hospital could operate.

We warned it could be months before enough disposable instruments could be supplied for hospitals across the country to proceed with operations.

Now a spokesman for the national NHS Supplies Agency has said there is no longer any problem obtaining enough supplies.

The postponed ops will start again in Ipswich this month and medical director Ian Scott said: "These are delicate operations. The risk of infection was a theoretical one that has not been proved, but was regarded as sufficiently high that operations had to be stopped.

"We are now working very hard and performing operations at weekends to catch up."

However Mick Russell, 45, of Kesgrave resorted to having his operation privately, after waiting since March 2000 for an admission date.

He said: "I was on the waiting list for ages and then this happened.

"I decided to have the operation done privately and it was done at the Suffolk Nuffield Hospital in Foxhall Road in July."

But the delayed operations, combined with the rising number of bedblockers – elderly people who no longer need a hospital bed but can't get alternative care - has pushed the number of people waiting for more than a year for treatment up to 307.

There are also 87 people who have been waiting for 15-17 months and the hospital has now asked for more funds to help reduce the number of long waiters.

There are 64 bedblockers in the hospital and head of nursing Clare Barlow said: "When you think about if we had those 64 beds, and compare it with the number of operations we have had to cancel, there is a real correlation."

Chief executive Peter Morris said the NHS expected to see a reduction in bedblockers, but added: "Even 35-45 delayed discharges would affect our capacity to do operations."

Chairman Peter Bye added: "We must acknowledge that we have been working very closely with colleagues in social and the healthcare system to try and resolve this, but the solutions so far, are far too slow and too little to deal with the problem.

"This is not a question of blame, we are all in this together."

The hospital is writing to Suffolk County Council to again show its concern.


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