Suffolk

MP says new medical centre approval 'disappointing'

Artist's impression of the new orthopaedic centre Image copyright ESNEFT
Image caption The new orthopaedic centre, as imagined in this artist's impression, could be open by 2024

An MP says it is "very disappointing" that his constituents will have to travel to a neighbouring county for planned hip and knee replacements.

Plans have been approved for East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (Esneft) to build an elective care centre at Colchester Hospital.

Ipswich Hospital patients will also use it as the two hospitals merged in 2018.

Nick Hulme, Esneft chief executive, said he would "address concerns" raised by Ipswich MP Tom Hunt.

The £44m centre was given the go-ahead by Ipswich and East Suffolk and North East Essex local clinical commissioning groups at an extraordinary meeting.

Mr Hulme said he was "absolutely delighted that these exciting plans have been approved".

'Growing disillusionment'

He said: "While we appreciate that some people may have concerns about travelling to the centre, we would stress that only their surgery will take place at the centre, with all other care both before and after arranged at their local hospital."

Mr Hulme said he would meet Mr Hunt "to discuss how we can work together now to address concerns raised".

Image caption Chief executive Nick Hulme said Colchester was the favoured site as there was "no affordable option at Ipswich Hospital"

But Conservative Mr Hunt tweeted the decision was "very disappointing news".

"Esneft need to accept that within Ipswich there is growing disillusionment with the hospital merger and this will significantly feed into that," he added.

Under the proposals, the centre for planned orthopaedic surgery will have at least 48 inpatient beds and up to six specialist operating theatres. It is expected to open by 2024.

Emergency orthopaedic surgery will continue at both hospitals.

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