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First public engagement on plans to move hundreds of operations at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, to new Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre at Colchester Hospital kicks-off





The first public engagement on plans to move hundreds of operations from West Suffolk Hospital to a new facility in a neighbouring county has kicked-off.

Patients had a chance to ask questions and share their views with clinicians on proposals to move about 60 per cent of orthopaedic elective surgical procedures – 1,300 to 1,500 per annum – from the Bury St Edmunds hospital to one in Colchester.

The first mini-exhibition event was at the Apex, in the arc Shopping Centre, this morning.

First mini-exhibition event has kicked-off in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Martyna Wiecha
First mini-exhibition event has kicked-off in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Martyna Wiecha

Patients had a chance to learn more about the Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre (ESEOC), which is due to open this year and will have eight theatres and three wards.

Nicola Cottington, chief operating officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said the move will help to reduce waiting times for patients needing procedures such as hip, knee, shoulder or ankle surgery.

Last minute cancellations of operations will also be less likely.

A concept of The Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre (ESEOC) at Colchester Hospital. Picture: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
A concept of The Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre (ESEOC) at Colchester Hospital. Picture: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

“The six-week public engagement exercise is open until the end of June and is seeking the views of everyone in our community about these plans,” said Ms Cottington.

“I urge people to take the opportunity to attend one of our events, complete the survey and have your say.”

At the event was Julie Taylor, 62, of Thurston, who has welcomed the proposals.

Julie Taylor, of Thurston, with her daughter Fiona. Picture: Martyna Wiecha
Julie Taylor, of Thurston, with her daughter Fiona. Picture: Martyna Wiecha

Having had surgery on her left knee about 10 years ago, Julie is currently on a waiting list to have her right knee replaced.

“I had trouble with my knee since November,” said Julie. “So anything that shortens the waiting time is welcomed.

“I have no problems getting to Colchester to get it done. Anything that will shorten the time you’re in pain is a fantastic idea.”

Adam Hanks is currently on a waiting list. Picture: Martyna Wiecha
Adam Hanks is currently on a waiting list. Picture: Martyna Wiecha

Also pleased with the plans was Adam Hanks, 57, who started having trouble with his knees about 40 years ago from playing football.

He is due for a full knee replacement and has been on a waiting list since March.

“It’s very impressive,” he added. “It looks like it could be a very good hospital and it’s a reassurance knowing that they deal with just hips and knees.”

The NHS is working with Healthwatch Suffolk to find out how the proposals would impact patients.

Picture: Martyna Wiecha
Picture: Martyna Wiecha

The engagement exercise will be running until June 30 and patients can make their views known through a number of ways, including completing an anonymous survey, which can be accessed via this link.

Alternatively, a hard copy feedback form can be requested on 0800 448 8234 or via an email at info@healthwatchsuffolk.co.uk.

Andrew Dunn, clinical director at the Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre, added: “Should this proposal come to fruition there would be definite benefits for patients across West Suffolk.

Andrew Dunn, clinical director at the Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre. Picture: Martyna Wiecha
Andrew Dunn, clinical director at the Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre. Picture: Martyna Wiecha

“There would be increased capacity which means patients would not have to wait so long to receive treatment and reduce the time they are living with discomfort and pain.

“Implementing the proposal would also free up an operating theatre at West Suffolk Hospital which will also create more capacity for other procedures.

“I urge people to take time to consider these proposals and tell us how they feel about them.”

Future drop-in events will take place during the following times:

Tuesday, June 11, 10am-noon, Newmarket Racing Centre, Fred Archer Way, Newmarket, CB8 8NT

Tuesday, June 11, 2.30pm-4.30pm, Innovation Centre, Croxton Rd, Thetford, IP24 1JD

Wednesday, June 12, 6-8pm, Haverhill Arts Centre, High Street, Haverhill, CB9 8AR

Thursday, June 13, 2-4pm, Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Station Road, Sudbury, CO10 2SU

Friday, June 14, 5pm-7pm, New Bury Community Centre, 1 Charles Pl, Bury St Edmunds, IP32 6TD

Tuesday, June 18, 10am-noon, Main Hall, St John’s Centre, St John’s Close, Mildenhall, IP28 7NX

Tuesday, June 25, 2pm-4pm, Brandon Leisure and Health Hub, Church Road, Brandon IP27 0JB