Ops cancelled amid hospital beds crisis

IPSWICH Hospital is “managing well” despite being on “black alert” intermittently this week and having two outbreaks of the winter vomiting virus.The hospital was on black alert - meaning there are no ordinary beds available - early yesterday morning and during periods this week.

IPSWICH Hospital is “managing well” despite being on “black alert” intermittently this week and having two outbreaks of the winter vomiting virus.

The hospital was on black alert - meaning there are no ordinary beds available - early yesterday morning and during periods this week.

Some routine, elective operations have been cancelled and clinical areas not usually used during weekends and in the evenings have been opened up as the hospital activated its contingency plans to deal with the surge in demand.

Two wards have also been closed to new patients because of outbreaks of the highly-contagious winter vomiting virus, which has affected around 20 patients and staff.


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Last night, hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell, said the status was changing hourly.

She said that yesterday morning the hospital had been on black alert - the second worst level of alert behind “blue lights only”, when only emergency cases can be admitted - but the situation had “eased somewhat” by yesterday afternoon.

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“It is extremely busy but we are managing well,” she said.

“We are grateful for everyone's support and tolerance.

“We are asking people not to visit the hospital if they feel unwell so that we can limit the number of infections.

“Our first priority is to deal with the most urgent cases that need our immediate attention.

“We are working closely with out partners, such as social services, primary care trusts and the ambulance service.”

She said there were a number of reasons for the busy period, including the weather and the fact that people who were feeling unwell over Christmas have waited until after the festive period to seek treatment.

It was also a symptom of the hospital dealing with an increasing population and a growing number of older people, Ms Rowsell added.

n Yesterday, the hospital's trust board gave the green light to three business cases, which will now go to the strategic health authority for approval.

It supported plans to carry out full works on the hospital's electrical infrastructure, at a cost of £3.665million, to ensure it is fit for the next 20 years, after hearing it could be liable for a damages payout of £10m if a power failure caused the death of a patient.

The board also gave approval to an interim business case to create a new central delivery suite for maternity services on the Heath Road site, at a cost of £1.2m, as well as £2.1m-worth of improvements to enable the Garrett Anderson centre to open, including a new road layout to allow for buses, the relocation of a decontamination unit, and signposting.

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