07/12/2020 | Press releases

Green light for multi-million pound improvement project

A multi-million pound project to transform urgent and emergency care at Ipswich Hospital is set to begin after plans to improve public transport access to the site were agreed.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has been granted permission to build a new £35m urgent treatment centre (UTC) and emergency department (ED) at the Heath Road hospital.

It comes after Ipswich Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously agreed with transport improvements ESNEFT has made to the scheme, which include creating eight new drop-off spaces and extra bus stops and crossing points, as well as widening the bus loop.

The changes mean that work can now begin on the UTC, which will cater for an estimated 50,000 patients who arrive at the ED each year with conditions which could be safely managed elsewhere, such as sprains, fever and vomiting.

Paul Fenton, Director of Estates and Facilities at ESNEFT, said: “We are delighted to have received the green light from Ipswich Borough Council and look forward to work beginning on this important project, which will transform services for our patients when it opens in 2022.

“The new centre will offer treatment for a range of urgent but not life-threatening conditions, in turn easing pressure on the ED by freeing up staff to focus on providing care for the most critically ill and seriously injured patients.

“It will be built alongside the new ED, which will simplify services by providing a single front door which all urgent and emergency patients will use before they are triaged by our clinical staff and directed to either the UTC or ED, depending on which service will best meet their needs.

“By ensuring that patients are seen by the right team first time, this exciting development will improve their experience of accessing care while reducing the amount of time they need to wait for treatment. At the same time, it will help us to make sure our emergency department remains available to those in the greatest clinical need.”

Patients should continue to use alternative services, such as their local pharmacy, NHS 111 or their GP, for help with minor or routine problems.

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