Second hospital ward to close

A SECOND Ipswich Hospital ward is to be closed this weekend as controversial cost-cutting measures are rolled out.

A SECOND Ipswich Hospital ward is being closed this weekend as controversial cost-cutting measures are rolled out.

Patients from the Bealings ward in the north end of the hospital site will be moved to Shotley, a ward in the south of the hospital that is currently empty.

Eventually, four of the care of the elderly wards will be closed in a bid to help the hospital recover its huge debts.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “We will be moving the wards as quickly as possible now that the financial recovery plans have been approved.

“The aim of these moves is, firstly, to improve care for patients.

“The people that use these wards are our most vulnerable and often have complex illnesses, so it will be much better for them if they are cared for in the main body of the hospital.”

Most Read

The plan is to eventually sell off the redundant building, earning vital income, but the hospital will also save money as soon as the last ward is closed as they will no longer have to pay capital charges on the building.

Ms Rowsell said: “The government states that NHS trusts must pay capital charges for all of the buildings that they use.

“If the building is empty we will immediately be saving around £1.5m a year as we won't have to pay these charges.”

She said that getting rid of an overflow ward should not cause the hospital problems as there is a move towards more people being cared for in the community.

The hospital will also be tightening up its procedures for ensuring people do not stay in hospital longer than necessary and become bed-blockers.

The Bealings ward will be the second ward to close in the space of a month.

On September 20 Orford ward had to be closed abruptly after staff vacancies made it unsafe to keep the ward open.

The hospital is currently trying to shift more than £17m of debt. Other cost-saving measures include axing 357 jobs and closing four operating theatres.