Town leader demands hospital boost

FURIOUS borough chief James Hehir is demanding improvements to services at Ipswich Hospital in the wake of news that patients will be sent away for treatment.

FURIOUS borough chief James Hehir is demanding improvements to services at Ipswich Hospital in the wake of news that patients will be sent away for treatment.

He called on health bosses to look at hospital services at Ipswich and Colchester to ensure that most conditions could be dealt with in the area.

The chief executive of Ipswich Council, who has himself been treated at Papworth Hospital near Cambridge, said he was concerned that services were being switched away from the town while the region was growing so fast.

He said: “On the one hand the government sees this as a growth area. We have more homes being built, more businesses and jobs coming to the town.

“We have a new university and college and the government sees this as a growth point. We should be seeing our hospital expanding and taking on new services - yet it seems that important departments are being moved away.

“When you look at the population of the area and add in north Essex around Colchester you have about 700,000 people living here.

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“This isn't a remote, sparsely-populated area where you might expect to travel long distances to hospitals. It is a large and growing area and it is unacceptable to have so many services being moved away.”

Mr Hehir said it was difficult for people with serious conditions to travel long distances.

He said: “I know from my own experiences that you can get very tired. I find that when I travel to Papworth. The care is very good but you need someone else to drive you home - and that is not always possible for everyone.

“If you look at the map the hospitals at Norwich, Basildon and Papworth are too far away for this area. There needs to be another centre serving the Ipswich/Colchester area.

“I shall be lobbying the government asking them to look at this - to look at this area alongside north Essex to ensure we get the best possible cover.”

He accepted that not all hospitals could have all services based at them but said an area with a population approaching three quarters of a million, most services should be able to split between hospitals at Ipswich and Colchester.

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