Following my joint letter with Cllr Ellesmere earlier this week, in Parliament yesterday I raised again how I strongly believe the plans to transfer elective orthopaedic surgery from Ipswich Hospital to a new centre in Colchester are not in the interests of the people of Ipswich. I asked Ministers to meet with me to discuss in detail my concerns and those of many Ipswich residents.
Around 700,000 orthopaedic patients have had their surgery postponed across the country due to Covid-19, and I built on our letter by stressing how important it is not to move key orthopaedic services away from people in Ipswich when we face this unprecedented national challenge. The people of Ipswich and Colchester both deserve first-rate hospitals to take on the challenges ahead and top quality care close to where they live. Stripping one hospital of what can only be described as core services at this time would be a fundamental step in the wrong direction.
I’ll continue to raise this issue at every opportunity in Parliament to urge Ministers to consider intervening and to call for the money currently earmarked for the proposed orthopaedic centre to be spent equally between Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals so the number of delays and cancellations to hip and knee surgery can be cut in both towns.
It was also a privilege to use this moment in the Chamber to thank our local NHS staff and social care workers in Ipswich for all they have done over recent months. And I also raised the importance of tackling the mental health challenges caused by Covid. The mental health impact of the virus will be with us for a lot longer than the virus itself and we must be ready to address this issue over the long-term.