An NHS trust has said a new X-ray machine at a community hospital would not have operated "more than a couple of sessions a week".

Earlier this week, this newspaper revealed East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) had been unable to support plans for a new X-ray machine at Felixstowe Community Hospital in Constable Road.

The League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospital (LoF), which supports the hospital, had been campaigning to get the new equipment installed to replace an old machine that had not been used for years due to the Covid pandemic and a lack of radiologists.

The charity had offered £270,000 towards the cost of the new scanner, but ESNEFT, which also runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, has instead pledged to work with the League to see how the money raised could be spent on services that would have "the biggest impact".

READ MORE: Dismay as Felixstowe Hospital in Suffolk won't get X-ray

An ESNEFT spokesperson said: "We have a long and happy relationship with the League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospital and highly value their contribution to health services. 

“The background to this issue is that the analogue X-ray equipment at Felixstowe Hospital was unfortunately unserviceable due to its age.  

East Anglian Daily Times: ESNEFT said it would look at options to prevent people in Felixstowe from needing to travel to IpswichESNEFT said it would look at options to prevent people in Felixstowe from needing to travel to Ipswich (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

"Despite the best efforts of our maintenance and engineering teams, parts are no longer available and regrettably we were unable to re-open the X-ray service.

“Our diagnostics teams have continued to explore various options for a new digital X-ray machine, factoring in town planning and growth.  

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

"We understand that an X-ray facility would not be required to operate more than a couple of sessions per week based on the number of referrals.

“Whilst exploring the options, the divisional team have reviewed the types of diagnostic tests regularly required.  

"We have been able to fund a new ultrasound service at Felixstowe Hospital which we feel will bring the greatest benefit to patients in the area and will provide a service five days a week, lessening the need for travel to Ipswich for a larger number of people.

READ MORE: Felixstowe news

“We are working with the chair and members of the League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospital to explore how the money raised by them within the community could be invested in services that would have the biggest impact for local patients and would like to thank all the trustees of the League of Friends for their very generous support.”

The trust has cited a 12% decline in the use of X-ray technology since the pandemic, while computed tomography (CT) scanners were being introduced instead, which provided a much fuller overall diagnosis.

The League's chair Roy 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."