On Friday the Chief Executive of Ipswich Hospital Nick Hulme visited my Ipswich office to discuss the latest Care Quality Commission inspection report into the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust.
Earlier this month the Trust (covers Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals) was rated as “Requires improvement”, though this was disappointing its worth pointing out how close the Trust was to being rated “Good”, just one more measurement out of 80 different measurements needed to be “Good” as opposed to “Requires improvement” and the overall rating for the Trust would have been “Good”.
When Ipswich was last assessed around 5 years ago it was rated as “Good” and Colchester was rated as “Requires improvement”. Its impossible to make a direct comparison between the different inspections because this one looked at both Hospitals together as opposed to in isolation. I know some of you have concerns that the merger with Colchester Hospital could have a negative impact to our hospital and I’m very keen to ensure that we all benefit from the merger. The good news is that planning permission for a brand new £35 million A and E department at Ipswich Hospital has now been granted and the plan is for it to be opened by spring 2022.
My understanding is that this massive investment wouldn’t have been possible without the merger. I will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure Ipswich benefits as much as possible from the merger and continues to secure new investment. I plan to meet with the Secretary of State for Health again shortly and this was the first of many meetings I will have with Nick who has also invited me to visit the Hospital shortly to meet the brilliant staff and gain a more thorough understanding of the challenges.