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Ipswich Hospital hip and knee surgery plans could get Parliament debate

PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 June 2020

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt stepped up his campaign to keep elective hip and knee surgery at Ipswich Hospital last week Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt stepped up his campaign to keep elective hip and knee surgery at Ipswich Hospital last week Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

House of Commons

Plans to move hip and knee surgery out of Ipswich could get a wider debate in Parliament, after the town’s MP raised the issue twice in the House of Commons this week.

An artist's impression of what the new orthopaedic centre will look like in Colchester. Picture: ESNEFTAn artist's impression of what the new orthopaedic centre will look like in Colchester. Picture: ESNEFT

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt raised the issue in debates on the Covid-19 response on Wednesday and during the business questions session on Thursday to the Leader of the House, Jacob-Rees Mogg.

Addressing the Commons, Conservative Mr Hunt said the plans, which would see orthopaedic surgery move out of Ipswich Hospital and into a brand new facility in Colchester, were “very unpopular in Ipswich” and would be detrimental to constituents.

MORE: Hospital trust explains why Ipswich cannot maintain hip and knee surgery services

Mr Rees-Mogg has indicated that it could be the subject of a more detailed debate in the chamber.

He said it “sounds like a worthy subject for an adjournment debate to highlight it more broadly”.

The current orthopaedic and fracture clinic at Ipswich Hospital Picture: ARCHANTThe current orthopaedic and fracture clinic at Ipswich Hospital Picture: ARCHANT

Adjournment debates are those held to explore an issue in more detail but do not require a question which the house must decide.

Mr Hunt said: “My cross-party letter with council leader David Ellesmere earlier this week was an important message about the strength of local opposition to the proposals to strip Ipswich Hospital of back and knee surgery.

“But this letter must be just one more step in the campaign to protect services at Ipswich Hospital. This campaign should now only intensify before the clinical commissioning groups makes a final decision on the plans next month.

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“That’s why I raised this issue in Parliament twice this week and I will not stop until it gets the national attention it deserves.

“Ministers must be aware of the scale of opposition to the plans and how they represent a downgrade to our hospital at a time when we can least afford it with orthopaedic surgery appointments backing up because of Covid-19.

“We must get to a place where we can cut delays and postponements to orthopaedic surgery at both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals while retaining core services close to where people live.

“The current plans would put Ipswich Hospital in the highly unusual position of being a general hospital that doesn’t offer elective orthopaedic surgery to the local people it serves.

“I believe that if those in positions of power are able fully take into account the concerns of people in Ipswich then they would likely come to a similar conclusion that I and many others have reached. And I’ll continue to bang on that door over the crucial coming weeks to get this message heard.”

Mr Hunt and Mr Ellesmere penned a joint letter to the CCG earlier this week urging a rethink of the proposals, and in a separate letter asked West Suffolk MP and health secretary Matt Hancock to take a personal interest in the matter,

Hospital bosses are pursuing the plans because of the long waiting lists and high cancellation rates at Ipswich Hospital on hip and knee operations, and say that a brand new centre at Colchester will “almost guarantee” no cancellations.

The plans, costing up to £45million will also mean more complex surgery can take place, according to the East Suffolk and North East Essex NHS Foundation Trust which runs the two hospitals.

Health chiefs claim that the Ipswich site could not be upgraded because there was not an affordable option, but stressed that all pre-op and post-op appointments could still take place there.

A final decision is to be made by the CCGs next month.


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