Welcome to Ipswich Hospital
Our Passion, Your Care
Support Groups

Citizens Advice Ipswich

Local charity providing free, impartial & confidential advice on rights & responsibilities.

Call their AdviceLine on 0300 330 1151, 10am – 4pm, Monday – Friday.
Visit the Citizens Advice Ipswich website.

Support group for families affected by miscarriage

Run by Maternity senior theatre assistant Meryem Suhail.

Meryem volunteers as the local Miscarriage Association helper, meaning she mans a helpline and runs monthly support group meetings.

She said: “One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage and a woman who has miscarried may not have time to understand and process what has happened before she is discharged from hospital."

The support group, for Ipswich and east Suffolk, meets monthly at the hospital Parentcraft Rooms. There is an information display in the hospital’s Emergency Pregnancy Admission Unit where patients are given Meryem’s contact details.

Meyrem can be contacted via the support helpline on 07905 001429.
Visit the Miscarriage Association website.

Exercise class to help people with rheumatoid arthritis relieve pain and improve fitness
Run by volunteer Glenda Deakin

The group meets on Thursday evenings and offers hydrotherapy in the hospital’s specialist pool as well as exercise.

Volunteer Glenda Deakin said: “Patients are given exercises by their physiotherapist but always need to progress to improve their fitness – and it's a big jump to move on to joining a gym. Lots of people think gyms are for fit people and this can dissuade them from continuing with their fitness. This group tailors the exercises to the individual, by arthritis experts.''

The group offers:

  • Hydrotherapy – warm water exercise with help from qualified physiotherapists
  • Keep fit – exercises for all abilities to improve movement
  • Hand wax – warm wax treatment to sooth aching joints
  • Support from patients – share tips and support with other patients
  • Expert speakers – advice from health professionals and alternative therapists
  • Refreshments

Mrs Deakin said: “We have chair based exercises for the less mobile through to circuit training and simple aerobics.

“There’s a £10 joining fee and £3.50 cost each session, but people can come as little or often as they like, and it’s far cheaper than signing up to a gym.”

The clases are at the hospital Physiotherapy Department (entrance 5), from 6pm to 8.30pm on Thursdays.

For more information contact Mrs Deakin on 07902 941583.
View the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society website.

Support for Carers - The Carers’ Cabin
Run by volunteers in partnership with Suffolk Family Carers

The Carers' Cabin provides access to rest and respite, free refreshments, information and signposting to organisations that can assist family carers and an opportunity to socialise with others. The cabin is  run by volunteers who provide a listening ear, information and support. 
The beach hut inspired cabin is a comfortable place for carers to take a break.

Opening times: Monday – Friday, 2pm - 5pm
For more information call Sarah Higson or Pam Talman on 01473 702101.
Visit the Suffolk Family Carers website.
More information about Ipswich Hospital's support for carers.

Support for people affected by Dementia
Run by the Alzheimer's Society

The Alzheimer’s Society is hosts dementia drop-in sessions in the hospital’s Carers’ Kitchen.
A team from the Society offer support, information and advice in the kitchen on the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 9.30am to noon.
The kitchen can be found at the south end of the site, near the bus stop at the Garrett Anderson Centre. It's a brightly coloured striped cabin.

For further information, call Sarah Higson or Pam Talman on 01473 702101.
Visit the Alzheimer's Society website.

Moving On with the HOPE Course
Run by the John LeVay Cancer Information Centre team

The Moving On with the HOPE course allows patients and carers who have completed cancer treatment to get support for a further six weeks.

It focuses on topics such as diet, exercise, fatigue, anxiety, sexuality and relationships and teaches self-help techniques. 

Louise Smith, cancer nurse specialist said: “The purpose of the programme is to empower patients and carers and ensure they are as prepared as possible for the immediate post treatment period. The programme aims to reduce feelings of anxiety and isolation and to provide self care strategies.

“It is estimated there are two million people living in the UK who have completed cancer treatment and are either recovered or are living with cancer. This group helps deal with negative effects and anxieties patients currently live with.”

For further information please contact Mrs Smith on 01473 704092.

Patients with peripheral neuropathy
Run by patients

Treatments such as chemotherapy and cancer-beating drugs can leave patients with damage to their nerves, a condition called peripheral neuropathy.

A support group at the hospital means people affected can share experiences and advice.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain, numbness and tingling - mainly in patients’ fingers and toes. This can result in people hurting themselves, for example burning themselves, and grievances such as dropping things frequently.

There’s no medical intervention which can cure this condition so talking to others and getting advice can be a huge help to patents.

The support group is every other month. Please contact the John LeVay Cancer Information Centre on 01473 715748 for details.

Lung cancer support group for patients & carers affected by lung cancer and mesothelioma
Run by nurse specialist

This is an opportunity to meet other patients and carers affected by lung cancer and mesothelioma. There are guest speakers and refreshments.

It’s in the Ipswich Hospital Large Parentcraft Room, outside entrance 6 (main outpatients), 12.30pm to 2pm, once every other month.

For further information contact Chris Garlick or Gerda Bailey 01473 702202.
Visit the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation website.

Ileo-anal pouch group (Koala)
Run by the Stoma Department nurses

The group is for patients who have a ileo-anal pouch or are trying to decide whether to have surgery or not. They meet approx every 6-9 months, at Holiday Inn London Road.

It's an opportunity to meet both patients and professionals. The evening is usually split into two sections, the first part being formal with 1 or 2 speakers (surgeons, physio, dietician, stoma nurses etc), followed by less formal time where patients meet and chat over coffee.

For further information contact the Stoma Department (Sharon and Sally) on 01473 703301.


ESOG is a local self-help group to support others with a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy by providing friendship and information. They meet monthly on the first Monday of each month at 7.30pm in the pavilion, Martlesham Heath. Patients, friends and family welcome.

For further information contact Christopher Haesler on 01394 383440 or the Stoma Department on 01473 703301.

Skin cancer support group
Run by nurse specialist Rachel Alexander

The Skin Cancer Support Group meets at The John LeVay Cancer Information Centre, Woolverstone Wing, Ipswich Hospital alternate months on the first Tuesday of the month from 6.30pm – 9.30pm. We can arrange free parking and provide refreshments. 

The evenings are always friendly, relaxed and attended by the Macmillan Skin Cancer clinical nurse specialist, who you may have met in the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery outpatient department. This group offers a supportive environment allowing time to talk with others who have been affected by skin cancer.

We have regular education-themed evenings. Partners or family members are welcome to come and join you on the evening.

For further information contact Rachel Alexander on 01473 704717 or Sue Roberts on 01473 723311.
Visit the British Skin Foundation website.

Support at hand for head and neck cancer patients
Run by Macmillan specialists

This is a support group where people affected by head and neck cancer can share their difficulties and triumphs.

The group meets every other month in the lecture theatre at the hospital’s Postgraduate Centre.

Amanda Ford, a Macmillan radiotherapy specialist radiographer at the hospital, said: “The group meetings an opportunity for patients and carers to meet others in a similar situation."

Each meeting hosts a guest speaker chosen by the patients, followed by a discussion.

For further information contact Amanda Ford on 01473 704631.

Support groups for patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis Society: South Suffolk Branch
The branch produces a twice-monthly Grapveine magazine and holds a Friday club and regular social events.
Local helpline: 08455 339417.For further information contact Jeff Drake on 01473 735433 or go to www.mssociety.org.uk/southsuffolk.

The Ipswich Sue Ryder Care Centre, The Chantry, offers a 10-week '5Rs' course for adults with multiple sclerosis in the local community. For further information visit the Sue Ryder website.

Self-Help in Multiple Sclerosis (SHIMS) runs on a Tuesday evening at Ipswich Hospital and can provide physio and other therapies.
For further information contact Tony Blumfield on 01473 611991.

Living with Osteoporosis course
Run by the National Osteoporosis Society

The course is for anyone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis – whether they have had a fracture or not. It runs weekly for four weeks in April and September, with approximately 30 patients per course.

The first session is all about osteoporosis, what it means, the implications, how the medication works, healthy living etc. The second session is all about diet and osteoporosis. The third session is a local GP who talks about questions regarding osteoporosis and associated diseases and how to get the best from your GP. The last session is about safe exercise and balance, at this session the group promotes joining the local group for support

Rheumatology Advice Line: 01473 703315

All patients attending the Rheumatology Department at Ipswich Hospital are given details of the Rheumatology Advice Line. If they have concerns relating to their condition or treatment which cannot wait until their next appointment they can call this number for advice and support. Other health professionals may also use this service to access specialist advice.

The Advice Line is staffed from Monday – Friday by specialist nurse practitioners who aim to return all calls within two working days. An answerphone is in use at busy times. To facilitate a prompt response messages left should include the patient’s full name, hospital number and a contact telephone number, as well as a brief outline of the reason for calling.

Please note that this service is not available at weekends or on bank holidays and there will be a delay in responding to calls left at these times.

Ipswich Inflammatory Spinal group (IISG) The Ipswich Inflammatory Spinal Group was established in October 2005 and is a small friendly group of people who have different conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, Spondyloarthropathy and Psoriatic Arthritis. These all have similar effects and all benefit from similar treatment.

We meet  on Wednesday evenings at 6.30pm in the Physiotherapy gym in the Rheumatology department at the Ipswich Hospital.

Each week we have physiotherapist led exercise and hydrotherapy tailored to our needs. As we all have different abilities in terms of exercise there is never any pressure to do more than you are able.

The evening is split into two sessions—pool and gym with a half time break for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat. We finish at 8.00pm

When there are more requests than there are places in the Hydrotherapy session, we have a rota system .

Ideally, you will need to be referred to the group by either your Consultant, Physiotherapist or your GP to ensure that your specific condition fits with the role of the group and the type of exercises that we do.

However, you can come along on a Wednesday evening and introduce yourself to one of the staff, or alternatively get in touch with Peter Collicott (077474 95661 or peter.collicott@gmail.com) who will be happy to chat to you and give you any further details you may require.

The group is self financing so there is a £20.00 annual fee and £5.00 cost each session but people can come as little or often as they like.

Pain Management support group

Run by Maggie Spong and Consultant Clinical Psychologist together with June Palmer, who is our Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist.

It meets bi-monthly in the Pain Management Unit on a Monday lunch-time .The group is run by and for people who have a Chronic Pain condition  and who have attended the Unit’s intensive eight week Pain Management Programme. It is a drop-in group which is both friendly and informal. Group members decide on the content of the meetings; these have included  invited speakers(e.g. pain physiotherapist, pain consultant, Disability Advice Bureau, Benefits agency ,and visits to the PMP allotment (set up by a PMP member). Information about group meetings is circulated by newsletter. People attending the Pain Management Programme sign a consent form to give their permission to be sent the newsletter from the hospital. New and old service users who have been on the PMP contribute to the newsletter. The editorial board is Maggie Spong and two people who have previously attended the PMP. We hope to be able to upload the newsletters onto the Pain Management Unit’s website. To protect  confidentiality identifying information of contributors will be anonymised.

For further details contact Maggie Spong on 01473 705435.

Ipswich Pituitary Patients support group

Founded by patients, consultants and the Endocrine specialist nurse, and based at the Diabetes Centre.

The group's purpose is to give support from diagnosis onwards, to provide information, to share experiences and difficulties and finally to encourage and to uplift.

Group meetings are every three months with invited specialist speakers.

For further information contact John Day (Chair) on 07768 602386, Gordon Scopes (Vice Chair) on 07563 341910 or Paul Finch (Secretary) on 01473 311516.

PSP Association

Information for patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), also supporting those with corticobasal degeneration (CBD)

View the PSP Association website.

Neurology in Suffolk - Helpful contacts at diagnosis