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18/02/2020 | Press releases

Share your views and help us ‘build for better care’

The NHS in Suffolk and Essex is inviting people to share their views on a proposal to create an elective care centre in Colchester for patients who need planned orthopaedic surgery, such as hip and knee replacements.

The centre would be built on the Colchester Hospital site on Turner Road. Its benefits would include:

  • a better experience for patients and carers
  • fewer cancelled operations, as beds will be dedicated to planned orthopaedic surgery and could not be used by emergency patients
  • shorter waits for surgery
  • new and exciting ways of working, in turn helping to retain existing staff and attract new talent to East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals and a range of community services
  • increased capacity to treat all local people into the future.

If the proposal goes ahead, the centre would have at least 48 inpatient beds and up to six specialist operating theatres, and would be expected to open by 2024.

Every patient would stay at the centre in Colchester while having their surgery, while all other care before and after the operation – such as x-rays, pre-assessments and physiotherapy – would be provided at either Colchester or Ipswich hospital, depending on which is closest to their home. Emergency orthopaedic surgery would also continue at the patient’s nearest hospital.

As part of the £44 million project, a replacement day surgery unit (DSU) would also be created at Colchester.

Nick Hulme, ESNEFT Chief Executive, said: “After working with patients, carers, staff and community groups to look carefully at where the new centre could be located, it quickly became clear that Colchester was the only option. This is because there is no affordable option at Ipswich Hospital, while building away from either hospital, such as at the Copdock roundabout, would not give our patients the rapid access they may need to other important clinical services, such as diagnostics and intensive care.

“In addition, Colchester also has good public transport links, while developing the centre at Turner Road would also release much-needed clinical space at Ipswich so that we can move other services into a better-quality environment which will help them to work more effectively.

“This proposal gives us an exciting opportunity to further develop our services so that we can continue providing first class care and the best possible experience for everyone living in east Suffolk and north east Essex. We’re encouraging as many people as possible to respond to the consultation and contribute to a meaningful discussion about how we can do things better in the future.”

Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Executive of Ipswich and East Suffolk and North East Essex clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said: “We have developed these proposals alongside colleagues at ESNEFT, as well as patient groups and other stakeholders, and are confident they will bring benefits to thousands of patients every year.

“With increasing demand for health services, we are having to look for new ways to deliver care in the longer term. As well as leading to better outcomes while cutting waiting times, the new centre will improve the whole pathway of care as it will mean fewer visits to hospital. In addition, it will increase our capacity to carry out more surgery as our population – and significantly our aging population – continues to grow.”

Andy Yacoub, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “We appreciate being invited to support the Trust to reach patients and carers for their views about this important development. We will do this together with our colleagues at Healthwatch Essex.

“Both local Healthwatch are well placed to offer an independent view about how patients and carers of this particular service will feel about these plans. If it goes ahead, this will be a welcome large NHS investment, but it will change the way patients currently access the service. I therefore urge people to share their views. That is the only way this proposal can be shaped around people’s needs and experiences.

“We already know that travel and transport will very likely be the most important factors and this is something that we will support the Trust to understand in more detail.”

David Sollis, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex, said: “We are pleased to see this proposed investment in NHS services which will benefit thousands of people in Essex each year.

“We welcome the news that this centre is likely to increase capacity and cut waiting times. We also recognise that the success of a model which creates a centre of specialism in Essex will be heavily reliant on excellent patient transport across both counties.

“We would encourage people to share their views about the centre, as we know that changes produced in consultation with people likely to be using the services, tend to result in more successful outcomes.”

People can share their views at www.esneft.nhs.uk/publicconsultation or by emailing hello@esneft.nhs.uk  and putting ‘Orthopaedic Surgery Centre Consultation Response’ in the subject line. Alternatively, write to Freepost Orthopaedic Surgery Centre Public Consultation.

A series of social media chats using the hashtag #BuildingForBetterCare will take place over the coming weeks, while public meetings will be held across the patch between 9 and 13 March. Full details are available at www.esneft.nhs.uk/publicconsultation.

The consultation will run from 4pm on 18 February to 5pm on 1 April. North East Essex and Ipswich and East Suffolk CCGs will take people’s feedback into account when making a final decision on the proposal in the summer.

An artist’s impression of how the centre could look

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