What’s next for newly merged Ipswich and Colchester hospitals?

Nick Hulme, chief executive, spoke about the future of the merger at the trust's first annual genera

Nick Hulme, chief executive, spoke about the future of the merger at the trust's first annual general meeting Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The chief executive of newly merged Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has said patients must hold the trust to account as it seeks to combat the “unprecedented challenges” facing the NHS.

Speaking at the first annual general meeting of the East Suffolk and North East Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Nick Hulme said it was his ambition to ensure “every precious moment of somebody’s life is not wasted by uncaring, unsympathetic bureaucracy”.

It comes after the hospitals merged last month to create the largest NHS trust in East Anglia - with 10,000 staff caring for one million people.

Addressing NHS staff and governors, press and members of the public, Mr Hulme said: “The only thing limiting us as a new organisation is the limits to our ambition. My ask is that you hold us to account for that.

“There is no doubt that in its 70th year the NHS is facing unprecedented challenges.

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“We know that we really need to challenge existing thoughts and processes. We need a different conversation that starts with: ‘What is the NHS that you need, not the NHS that you want?’”

Speaking about how the trust is seeking to improve efficiency of care, Mr Hulme said the NHS tended to “pile on some unnecessary stress”.

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“We make it difficult for you to find the right doctor, to find the right care that you need, and that is the challenge that we face,” he said.

“We can make a difference to people’s lives by reducing and ideally removing the unnecessary stress – but that requires huge courage.”

Mr Hulme said the main priority going forward was saving precious time and resources to improve patient experience: “We celebrate the fact that we see somebody within two weeks who has a suspected cancer.

“All of us need to have a good hard look at our organisation. We have that opportunity.”

Mr Hulme added that he was “absolutely delighted” with the new merger.

Speaking about the new trust last month, managing director Neill Moloney said the hospitals were looking at ways to change the way they delivered care, such as utilising new technologies.

The new trust aspired to cut down waiting times and ensure patients were able to discharge home sooner, he added.

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