AS many as 1,500 orthopaedic procedures a year could be moved from Suffolk to a new facility at Colchester Hospital if proposed plans go ahead.

The NHS is proposing shifting operations which currently take place at West Suffolk Hospital to the forthcoming Essex and Suffolk Elective Orthopaedic Centre (ESEOC).

Public engagement is being sought for the proposal targeting patients awaiting surgeries to their hips, knees, feet, or ankles.

Commencing May 20 and ending on June 30, the plans to use ESEOC at the Colchester Hospital site, in Turner Road, will be put forth for public opinion.

Scheduled to begin operations later this year, the ESEOC is part of a nationwide scheme set to provide additional operating theatres and approximately 1,000 more beds across England.

By segregating surgical hubs from emergency services, these facilities will ensure beds are readily available for patients awaiting scheduled surgeries, reducing the chances of cancellations due to unforeseen emergency admissions.

The proposed ESEOC facility features 72 additional beds and eight advanced operating theatres, which will remain operational throughout the year.

If the proposal is implemented, surgeries will be conducted at ESEOC while pre-operation assessments and appointments will continue at West Suffolk Hospital.

The surgeries will be overseen by local surgeons, barring any unexpected complications like staff illness.

Despite the planned shift, about 45 per cent of elective orthopaedic surgeries will still take place at West Suffolk Hospital, including all services for those below the age of 18.

The move is aligned with other parts of England where thousands of patients have already witnessed the advantages of surgical hubs located away from their local hospital.

With an aim to provide an understanding of the proposal and to facilitate conversations with clinicians and local NHS representatives, a series of mini exhibition sessions and virtual events have been planned from June 8 to June 25.

These informal events require no pre-booking and are open to anyone interested.

Events are taking place across the region in the likes of Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Mildenhall.

Online events are being held on Wednesday, June, 5 at 5pm and Saturday, June, 15 at 10am.

For more information about the events visit