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Ipswich Hospital

Volume 932: debated on Friday 20 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will expedite the next phase of the District General Hospital in Ipswich, which on current plans will bring no relief until 1983–84, in the light of the population growth, increasing numbers of elderly people, and the closure of Foxhall Wing.

The regional health authority has received notification of its capital allocation for 1977–78 with resource assumptions for the years 1978–79 and 1979–80. As soon as it is in a position to do so, which on present information is likely to be later in the year, it will be considering its programme of capital building schemes to start in the years from 1978–79. In doing so it will take account of the relative needs and pressures on services in various parts of the region. I am asking it to let the hon. Member know the outcome of its deliberations.Meanwhile, from funds provided by a voluntary organisation and for which the RHA is most grateful, a scheme to provide 50 geriatric beds and 70 day places is due to be put in hand later this year and to be completed by the end of 1979.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the present average delays in orthopaedic consultations and operations, respectively, in the Ipswich Hospital; and by how much it is expected that the bringing into use of an orthopaedic ward for general medical patients will further extend the delays.

Dependent upon the type of operation, non-urgent major operations may have to wait between 10 and 18 months once the case is placed on the waiting list. Minor non-urgent operations will probably have to wait between three and four months. Currently, there are 349 non-urgent operations on the waiting list, which is one of the smallest in this specialty within the East Anglian Region. Waiting times for non-urgent out-patient consultation are between 28 and 48 weeks. Urgent patients are seen earlier on the recommendation of the general practitioner. All of these figures are abnormally high at present owing to the prolonged illness of one of the consultants last year.The orthopaedic ward in use for general medical patients is a 24-bed female ward. It will be used flexibly by the department of medicine and the department of orthopaedics, depending on demand within the two specialties. The effect on the orthopaedic waiting lists is expected in an average year to be minimal.