Bid to help resort's health service

COMMUNITY leaders went on a fact-finding tour of Felixstowe's two hospitals as part of setting up a new group aiming to improve health services at the resort.

COMMUNITY leaders went on a fact-finding tour of Felixstowe's two hospitals as part of setting up a new group aiming to improve health services at the resort.

The town council has put forward the idea of a partnership to enable it to take part in decisions being made about health and social services - especially those affecting the elderly - at an early stage.

It has been frustrated at only finding out what is happening once consultation is to take place or a decision has been made and wants an earlier input on behalf of residents.

Councillors Mike Ninnmey and Malcolm Minns, two representatives on the group, were given a tour of Felixstowe General and Bartlet, and their annexes, to see the facilities.

Mr Ninnmey said the county and district councils, and the Primary Care Trust, had all agreed to join the partnership.

“The response is very encouraging, although it will be too late to help with the present situation and the threat of closure facing the Bartlet Hospital,” he said.

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“I think after the Fresher Future for Felixstowe fiasco, in which we were promised all sorts of improvements which were then withdrawn only months later, must not be allowed to be repeated.

“We need to have an input from an early stage to help talk through any changes which are proposed and help shape those decisions.

“We hope this group will do that for the future, but at the present time we still have a fight on our hands to save the Bartlet and time is running out.”

He said they had been surprised at the extent of the Bartlet premises, particularly the annexe, an original part of the Bath Hotel - burned down by suffragettes - and most recently a physio department and offices for the PCT.

“I feel the Bartlet must be kept for medical purposes - it has a wonderful location and there must be some health use it can serve. It would be an insult to Dr Bartlet's memory to lose it,” he said.

The new partnership will concentrate on health, housing and support services, such as the provision, location and range of services, opening hours, and other issues.

Let us have your views on plans to shut the Bartlet - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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