Patients' wait unnacceptable, says chief

A TOP health boss has criticised Ipswich Hospital for leaving patients waiting six months for treatment.

A TOP health boss has criticised Ipswich Hospital for leaving patients waiting six months for treatment.

Carole Taylor-Brown, the chief executive of NHS Suffolk which manages and buys services in the county, said it was not acceptable that 21 patients waited for more than 26 weeks for treatment this year.

At yesterday's board meeting of the primary care trust, concerns about waiting times, turnaround times for ambulances at Accident and Emergency, and long waits for patients at A&E were highlighted.

Mrs Taylor-Brown said: “It is unacceptable that people are waiting too long.

“People in Suffolk do not want to wait any longer than absolutely necessary to access services.”

The Evening Star revealed yesterday that the Heath Road hospital had failed to hit targets for treating people quickly enough, partly because of exceptional winter pressures and staff sickness.

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It has apologised to all those affected and pledged to make changes so it does not happen again.

NHS Suffolk's board was told a remedial action plan was in place and the East of England Strategic Health Authority had been informed of the problems.

The meeting in Claydon also highlighted performance issues about ambulances waiting too long at A&E.

At Ipswich Hospital turnaround times are lagging behind national averages, despite efforts being made to tackle the problem for more than a year.

It is also still struggling to treat 98 per cent of emergency patients within the four hour target.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “We are making significant improvements but we are not complacent.

“(Waiting times) are patchy and we need to understand why they are patchy.”

Have you faced waits for treatment at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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