Plans take shape for new orthopaedic centre - but will it be in Colchester or Ipswich?
- Credit: KLH ARCHITECTS
An NHS Trust is putting together plans for its new multi-million pound orthopaedic centre - but is not yet indicating whether it will open in Ipswich or Colchester.
In June it was announced East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) had set aside a £34million pot of cash for the centre - part of a £65 million investment in the Trust - with the aim of shortening waiting times for patients and reducing cancellations.
ESNEFT chief executive Nick Hulme unveiled an architect's impression of the centre, which is set to initially provide 54 beds, earlier this year.
Once the proposals and a business plan have been put together the trust will put it out to public consultation before making the all-important decision on where it will be built - either at Ipswich or Colchester hospital.
Some fear they could face long journeys along the A12 if the centre ends up being built outside their county, sparking a tug of war between MPs in Suffolk and Essex to get the centre built in their county.
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A spokesman for the Trust said the public would have a chance to have their say on the plans when it goes out to consultation, which is expected to be early next year.
Rebecca Driver, director of communications and engagement said: "At the moment we are still in the planning stages of our proposal to build a single orthopaedic elective care centre located at either Colchester or Ipswich Hospitals.
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"This development will require a public consultation. We expect this to start in Spring 2020 with a decision making process after this.
"We continue to work with our regulators to develop this proposal in line with NHS requirements for developing new buildings."
It has also been reported the Trust could miss out on £26 million of funding if it does not hit its budget target for the day-to-day running of its two hospitals.
Minutes from a July finance meeting show its deficit was more than expected, although this would not affect the money set aside for the new orthopaedic centre.
However, Trust finance director Adrian Marr said: "We are committed to achieving our financial plan as agreed with our regulators and are working with all our colleagues to achieve this by March 31, 2020."