A timeline with the aim to bring 1,400 Suffolk patients for treatment at a new £34m orthopaedic elective hub at Colchester Hub has been agreed.

The NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrate Care Board (ICB) discussed the plans which would take 60 per cent of the orthopaedic elective surgical procedures away from West Suffolk Hospital and to Colchester.

The hub would be called Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre (ESEOC) and would be within Colchester Hospital.

The West Suffolk Hospital theatres are used for both trauma and elective surgeries, which is why the hospital is unable to keep up with the demands.

The ICB estimates that this hub in Colchester can provide 22 per cent more procedures and reduce wait times by four weeks.

The aim is that 1,457 cases would move from the West Suffolk Hospital to the new Colchester ward, while still looking after 1,165 cases, yearly.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dr Ed GarrattDr Ed Garratt

While introducing the plan Chief Executive of the ICB Dr Ed Garratt OBE said: “Recovery of the elective waiting list is the biggest priority. From late summer we will not only have the elective orthopaedic centre in Colchester but it is also promising to be the largest in Europe.

“This is the latest chapter in quite a lengthy and well-thought-through process.”

The clinical lead of the service Dr Andrew Dunn noted that the hub comes in response to a 61% increase in NHS waiting lists since the pandemic, adding that at the start of this year, 71.4 million were on waiting lists country-wide.

East Anglian Daily Times: The ESEOC would be Europe's biggest orthopaedic centreThe ESEOC would be Europe's biggest orthopaedic centre (Image: Newsquest)

The ICB aim to have April as a consultation period where they ask patients on waiting lists what impact it might have on them, and also engage with community groups and the Health Watch to talk about equality issues.

In May and June, a six-week public engagement session will be run to hear the opinions people may have on this move.

Finally, the ICB meeting on July 30 will decide the opening date of ESEOC.

ICB’s associate director of communications Simon Morgan said: “We are looking to make this widespread. We will be promoting it very thoroughly.

“We are genuinely keen to hear from as many people and community groups as possible.”

The Colchester site would give care to patients from East Suffolk, North Essex, Ipswich and Colchester. 

The new wing would have eight theatres and three wards making ESEOC Europe's largest orthopaedic centre.