Supporters of a new X-ray machine at a Suffolk community hospital have been dealt a blow after a hospital trust was apparently unable to back the plans.

The League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospital (LoF) had been campaigning to get the equipment installed at the Constable Road health facility to replace an old machine that had not been used for a number of years due to the Covid pandemic and a lack of radiologists to operate it.

The League had previously offered £270,000 towards the cost of the new scanner, but the estimated total cost has now increased to £370,000 as a result of the pandemic, while also including building work, staff and ongoing maintenance.

READ MORE: Appeal for new x-ray machine for Suffolk hospital

The League's chair Roy Gray said East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, had told the League it could not support the replacement of the X-ray equipment.

He said the trust cited a 12% decline in the use of X-ray equipment since the pandemic, while the main use of the technology had been for chest assessments, but Computed Tomography (CT) scanners were being introduced instead, which provide a much fuller overall diagnosis.

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He added although the trust recognised the population of Felixstowe was set to grow, it said the demand for X-rays would not be sufficient for a viable service or would represent the best use of funds that the League had worked hard to secure.

Mr Gray said: "This was very disappointing news for the League, however the trust feels there are some alternative valuable services that could be invested in and they will be drawing up some proposals for consideration.

"The LoF have said they will keep their members and wider public updated."

Part of the rationale for the new X-ray machine was to reduce the number of patients needing to travel to Ipswich Hospital and therefore reduce the amount of pressure on services there.

ESNEFT has been approached for comment.