Suffolk patients have said they do not mind travelling to Essex if their waiting times for orthopaedic elective surgery are going to be reduced. 

Most orthopaedic surgeries in the county are conducted by West Suffolk Hospital, which has led to some people having to wait 65 weeks for their treatment. 

To counter this the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrate Care Board (ICB) plans to move 60% of these surgical procedures to a new hub in Colchester.

It hopes the new centre, called Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre (ESEOC), would reduce wait times for surgeries by at least four weeks. 

Franstine Ford, a resident from Lowestoft, has been on the waiting list for hip surgery for 45 weeks and was consulted by the ICB on whether she would be willing to travel to Colchester. 

She said: "At this point, I just want to be operated.

"It's taken forever for me to get any progression with the problem, so I don't care how far I have to travel, I just want to be able to have a functioning hip."

East Anglian Daily Times: West Suffolk Hosptial takes the bulk of elective surgery loadWest Suffolk Hosptial takes the bulk of elective surgery load (Image: WSNFT)

The ICB believes that many others like Ms Ford would prefer to travel over wait longer. 

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds takes the bulk of elective surgeries, with Colchester and Ipswich hospitals also being responsible for some.

The new centre would serve patients from Ipswich, east Suffolk, Colchester and north Essex to.  

The average wait time for those transferred from Colchester Hospital for lower limbs operations is 62 weeks, while for upper limbs in Ipswich Hospital is 58 weeks. 

In total these two hospitals have more than 11,000 people waiting for orthopaedic consultation, while just over 2,300 wait for surgeries at West Suffolk. 

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which operates both hospitals, says that a new hub in Colchester would be the best option going forward. 

Shoulder surgery patient, Frank Hunt from Felixstowe, said: "It's been 55 weeks for me to be looked at Ipswich. If after that I am told to move to Bury and wait longer, my shoulder might as well fall off. 

"I just hope soon the surgery I need takes place, I don't care where."

Following public engagement carried out by the ICB and the West Suffolk Trust, the ICB meeting on July 30 will decide the opening date of ESEOC.