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Bury St Edmunds: West Suffolk Hospital’s aim for regional centre

16:33 30 July 2014

West Suffolk Hospital is to take on the region’s big boys as it aims to become East Anglia’s leading centre for trauma and orthopaedics.

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It is part of the cash-strapped hospital’s move to provide more pre-planned elective care to help boost its finances, with this latest strategy looking to take patients from the likes of Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Friday’s board meeting heard there is just a four-week wait for first appointments in its trauma and orthopaedics department – around half the waiting time at Addenbrooke’s.

“The competition at the moment is not from someone having the same idea, because there isn’t anyone in the area with the same idea,” the department’s Daniel Whitehead told directors.

“We know the opportunity is now to get embedded.”

Trauma and Orthopaedics is the surgical speciality concerned with bones and joints, such as hip replacements.

The hospital wants to expand its catchment area to the likes of Soham, Ely and Botesdale. It is to hire more staff and move to two six-hour sessions on weekdays in a bid to cater for an anticipated 26% increase in patient activity next year.

Earlier this year the EADT revealed that West Suffolk misses out on as much as £30m due to patients at the western edge of its catchment area choosing Addenbrooke’s.

Outgoing chief executive Stephen Graves said: “We are seeing business that would have gone to Addenbrooke’s, say, where there is very limited capacity, but the decision maker in this is predominantly the GP.”

For more information about trauma and orthopaedics at West Suffolk Hospital call 01284 713713.

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