Anger as hospital beds left empty

FRUSTRATED patients from Felixstowe are still being kept at Ipswich Hospital instead of being sent nearer to home to recover, it was revealed today.Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals campaigners said they knew of a number of patients currently taking up acute beds in Ipswich instead of being sent to the Bartlet to convalesce.

FRUSTRATED patients from Felixstowe are still being kept at Ipswich Hospital instead of being sent nearer to home to recover, it was revealed today.

Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals campaigners said they knew of a number of patients currently taking up acute beds in Ipswich instead of being sent to the Bartlet to convalesce.

It was making a mockery of health chiefs' claims that people could be sent home to be looked after by special teams zipping about the area to care for patients.

If the Bartlet is closed and sold to help pay off Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust's multi-million pound debts, then even more of Ipswich's diminishing beds will be taken up in this way.

Action group chairman Roy Gray sent an urgent message to PCT chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown about the situation - demanding to know why the Bartlet's beds were being cut three months ahead of schedule.

"We know of two or three people who are stuck in Ipswich Hospital and are desperate to come down to the Bartlet to continue their recovery," said Mr Gray.

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"These people are not well enough to go home and look after themselves or be looked after by carers visiting them.

"They are an excellent example of why the Bartlet is needed and should be kept and why these proposed changes will not work.

"But they have been told there are no beds at the Bartlet, which is very upsetting and frustrating for them and their families, who have to travel every day to visit.

"It makes me angry because there are plenty of empty beds at the Bartlet and yet they are not being used because staff have been sent a memo telling them not to use them."

In a bid to slash the £47.9m debts of the east Suffolk healthcare system one of the cuts proposed is to sell the Bartlet Hospital and its annexe.

Bosses have already agreed to halve the number of beds in the Bartlet, but it was understood this would not happen until late autumn.

However, the PCT has told staff not to use vacant beds in the Landguard Ward to reduce using agency staff and save money.

It said the beds were not closed permanently but were not needed in August when there was less pressure on beds and it was "normal operational business".

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Opinion - page 6

WEBLINKS: www.suffolkcoastal-pct.nhs.uk

www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk

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