HEALTH campaigners are astonished today at reports that community nurses jobs could go – just days after a top-level meeting at which they were assured front-line staff were safe.

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Roy Gray, chairman of the Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group, feared community and district nurses working at the resort could be lost with an impact across the town and surrounding villages on the health of people recovering at home.

“If what is being said is true and 30 nurses are to go, then proportionately I would expect some of those affected to be attached to Felixstowe Community Hospital,” he said.

“To tell the truth, I am staggered, astonished.

“We have only just had a meeting with a very senior member of the management at the private health providers Serco and were assured that Felixstowe would not be affected by the plans to cut staff – we were told categorically no cuts to nurses or other clinical staff.

“We were told it would be management and office-based people who would be affected and not front-line staff.

“I will be getting back in touch with Serco again and demanding to know some answers.”

Mr Gray said the meeting between the League of Friends of Felixstowe Community Hospital and Serco had been “very positive” and encouraging.

“Their ideas had seemed very good. We were told they were looking at extra clinics for our hospital, which we have been campaigning for to stop people having to travel to Ipswich,” he said.

Serco, which now runs Suffolk Community Healthcare, is looking to shed 137 posts.

The company says its intention is to invest in technology and increase efficiency – and improve community healthcare in the process by enabling clinicians to spend more time caring for patients.

There would be a reduction of 227 current roles and the creation of 90 new ones with every effort made to redeploy staff into the new roles, and no compulsory redundancies among front-line clinical staff.

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