Views sought from west Suffolk patients on orthopaedic proposal

Posted on in West Suffolk News

Patients across west Suffolk are being asked for their views on a proposal to deliver some elective orthopaedic procedures – currently provided at West Suffolk Hospital – from a brand new, purpose-built facility in Colchester called Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre (ESEOC).

The NHS in Suffolk is working with Healthwatch Suffolk to find out how the proposal would impact on local people. A six-week engagement exercise will take place between 20 May and 30 June to allow people to give their views.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board say the proposed plans will increase capacity to treat patients needing procedures such as hip, knee, shoulder or ankle surgery.  When it opens later this year, ESEOC, based within the Dame Clare Marx Building on the Colchester Hospital site, will be a surgical hub that is ‘ring fenced’.  This means patients will not have their operations cancelled when hospitals face intense emergency pressures.

To find out more, please visit Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre public engagement 2024 – NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB

To request a paper copy of the survey please email or call 0800 448 8234.

Philip Vaughan, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Deputy Clinical Director of Surgery at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented levels of disruption on elective hospital care across the country.  Even without further COVID-19 surges, additional elective surgical capacity is required to reduce excessive waiting times for patients.

“There continue to be significant increases in waiting times for local patients to be treated, leaving many in continued discomfort or pain while they wait.  If approved, this new hub will provide extra capacity to enable us to address this and treat our patients more efficiently.”

Andrew Dunn is Clinical Director at the Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre.  He said: “There would be several benefits to patients across west Suffolk were this proposal to come to fruition.  For instance, more capacity would be created which would allow more patients to receive their treatment in a shorter wait time.  If agreed, the proposal would also free up an operating theatre at West Suffolk Hospital which will also create more capacity.

“Patients would also benefit from receiving care and treatment in a purpose built, modern, state-of-the-art centre that would be the largest of its type in Europe.”

Simon Morgan, Associate Director of Communications at NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, said: “We want to hear from as many people as possible and will be making our engagement as accessible as we can to ensure everyone who wants to have their say can do so.

“In addition to the survey, several outreach events and drop-in sessions will take place which will allow people to hear more about the proposal and to ask questions.

“We also plan to promote the engagement with our local media partners, at libraries and local supermarkets, in GP practices and with local community groups.  Over the coming weeks we will be sharing information about how you can have your say in time for when the engagement starts on 20 May.

“Healthwatch Suffolk will gather views and produce a report at the end of the engagement period to ensure a truly independent process is conducted.  This report will be presented to the board of directors at NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, which commissions local NHS services, for a final decision.”

As part of the engagement, the NHS in Suffolk will be holding several mini exhibitions across west Suffolk allowing members of the public to learn more about the proposal and to speak to clinicians.  They will take place during the following times:

  • Saturday 8 June, 10-12noon, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, Charter Square, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3FD
  • Tuesday 11 June, 10-12noon, Newmarket Racing Centre, Fred Archer Way, Newmarket CB8 8NT
  • Tuesday 11 June, 2.30-4.30pm, Innovation Centre, Croxton Rd, Thetford IP24 1JD
  • Wednesday 12 June, 6-8pm, Haverhill Arts Centre, High Street, Haverhill CB9 8AR
  • Thursday 13 June, 2-4pm, Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Station Road, Sudbury CO10 2SU
  • Friday 14 June, 5-7pm, New Bury Community Centre, 1 Charles Pl, Bury St Edmunds IP32 6TD
  • Tuesday 18 June, 10-12 noon, Main Hall, St John’s Centre, St John’s Close, Mildenhall IP28 7NX
  • Tuesday 25 June, 2-4pm, Brandon Leisure and Health Hub, Church Road, Brandon IP27 0JB

Andy Yacoub is Chief Executive of Healthwatch Suffolk. He said: “We know that waiting for, say a hip operation, for an extended period of time can deeply affect people’s lives, and those of their loved ones.

“We therefore welcome the efforts of our NHS leaders in finding innovative and necessary solutions.  Their decision to engage the public to have a say in how these plans are carried out, through an independent source, is the best possible approach.

“It is important that people take just a few moments to complete the Healthwatch Suffolk short anonymous feedback form when it is launched. This will enable us to assist NHS leaders in gaining a better understanding of how these plans may impact people’s lives across our local communities.
“Ultimately, we hope this will support the best possible decision-making about how people will more easily access and receive orthopaedic care in the future.”