BY LIZZIE PARRY
Friday, November 30, 2012
A BOLD vision for the future of Ipswich Hospital can today be revealed – with ambitious proposals for a multi-million pound health campus featuring new GP practices, a multi-storey car park and other specialist services.
The Heath Road trust’s Estate Strategy was put before the hospital’s board of directors at yesterday’s board meeting, outlining plans for the future of the 46-acre site.
The Star understands three existing GP practices – the Lattice Barn Surgery, the Woodbridge Road surgery and the Derby Road practice – could be moved to the hospital site in new state-of-the-art facilities.
Long-term plans centre around a bid to relocate all clinical services to the south end of the site, where the Garrett Anderson Centre stands pride of place.
Part of those proposals include a new endoscopy building on the site of an existing car park, paving the way for the construction of a new multi-storey.
There are also immediate plans to redevelop the chemotherapy day care unit, Somersham Ward.
But due to unavoidable constraints, including the hospital’s incinerator being located at the opposite end of the site – close to the Woodbridge Road entrance – it is not feasible for the hospital to sell off that land.
Instead bosses are looking at the possibility of bringing together a range of health services, adding to the mental health facility already on site.
The strategy refers to Ipswich Hospital as having a long-term future as the “key acute emergency site in Suffolk”.
Despite a recent £3million investment in improving facilities in the maternity block, the long-term plan is to move the department to the south of the site. However, bosses concede that couldn’t happen for at least five to ten years.
John Watson, director of operations, and Geoff Calver, associate director of estates, presented the vision.
Mr Watson said: “As more health service delivery moves into a community setting the opportunity presents to develop Ipswich Hospital more as a broader health economy health campus with other partner organisations developing facilities on the site, much as Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have already.
“In addition this would maximise the benefit from Ipswich Hospital’s nationally recognised bio fuel generator.”
The generator already burns all of the hospital’s rubbish, providing enough energy to heat the water on site.
He said: “What we would like to do is bring all the different bodies around the table to look at how we can work together to make our site more efficient.”
Chair of the board, Ann Tate, added: “It is about keeping our options open and who else in the health economy might be thinking along the same lines as us and who might need to jointly use part of our estate.”
The £10million project to create a new cardiology centre – the result of The Star’s Have a Heart campaign – and sterilisation unit is ahead of schedule and is set to open in March and February respectively.
Dr Alan Murray, chair of the Suffolk Health Scrutiny Committee welcomed the idea of a health campus at Heath Road.
“The hospital should look to develop the more redundant parts of the site and knock down the old buildings,” he told The Star.
“I would very much welcome the idea of a health campus, it will give the hospital a really positive future, the options are limitless.”
n What do you think of the proposals? Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Mark Shenton, GP Chair of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “One of the priorities for the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group is to make sure local GP practice premises provide a safe, welcoming and effective environment for good patient care.
“Three GP practices, Lattice Barn, Woodbridge Road and Derby Road, are looking at redeveloping their premises however no sites have been confirmed. No decisions will be made by the practices about their sites before active engagement with local people and their patients have taken place.”