Assurances given over hospital's future

HEALTH bosses today denied speculation that they are preparing to bring in private contractors to run Felixstowe Community Hospital following a �1.76 million makeover.

HEALTH bosses today denied speculation that they are preparing to bring in private contractors to run Felixstowe Community Hospital following a �1.76 million makeover.

Campaigners have written to Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer over the issue after being told by hospital staff of their worries for the future.

Roy Gray, chairman of the Save Felixstowe Hospitals Action Group, said: “There are considerable concerns over the future of the hospital and we are just seeking some answers.

“We want assurances that if the hospital was to be taken over by an outside organisation and not be run by the Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT), services at the hospital would not be cut or changed.

“The NHS is changing and will not be the NHS in future that most of us know and understand.

“Our main concern is Felixstowe Community Hospital and ensuring that services are there for this growing town.”

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Campaigner Peter Mellor said staff at the hospital had already been briefed on the changes which will happen as the PCT becomes a body dedicated to commissioning health services rather than running them.

“One option would be to put services, such as Felixstowe hospital, out to private tender and a company such as TCN, but there would be other options such as creating a social enterprise organisation,” he said.

At briefings a few weeks ago, staff were told there were five options for the future, including putting all Suffolk Community Healthcare services out to tender.

PCTs are supposed to make final decisions by April, though it will be longer before any changes are made.

John Such, chief operating officer at Suffolk Community Healthcare, said: “Suffolk Community Healthcare will continue to provide quality healthcare services at the minor injuries unit at Felixstowe Community Hospital - which has now been open for a year, providing an excellent service to the community.

“We also want to reassure patients and staff that there is absolutely no truth in these rumours (of any changes).”

Would you be worried if Felixstowe Community Hospital was run by a private company? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk