Calls for health investigation

CALLS have been made for an independent investigation into the dire financial state of Suffolk's health services.Questions and concerns about the state of the health service were raised at a meeting of people in Felixstowe who gathered at a meeting about closure of the town's hospitals and cuts to services.

CALLS have been made for an independent investigation into the dire financial state of Suffolk's health services.

Questions and concerns about the state of the health service were raised at a meeting of people in Felixstowe who gathered at a meeting about closure of the town's hospitals and cuts to services.

A panel made up of Felixstowe town and district councillor Mike Ninnmey, Peter Mellor - a member of the Save Felixstowe Hospital's action group, Felixstowe GP and British Medical Association representative Dr Janet Massey and county councillor Graham Newman were on hand to answer questions from concerned members of the public.

And speaking after the meeting Mr Ninnmey said that he feels the Primary Care Trusts had been allowed to get in such a mess by the Strategic Health Authority.

He added: “I feel the only way out now is an independent investigation as to why we are where we are and how we can get out of the situation with the least damage to Suffolk Coastal.”

Drastic healthcare cuts are proposed for the town with savings of £47.9 million being needed across the Suffolk East system. It is proposed to close and sell Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital and annexe.

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The number of inpatient beds in the town are likely to be reduced to 20 or less step-up beds - beds people could be admitted to if they are not so ill they need to be in an acute hospital.

Services would be based at Felixstowe General Hospital and in Constable Road.

Around 20 people attended the meeting at the Cavendish Community Church in the town's Grange Farm Avenue on Friday.

Also speaking after the meeting, Mr Mellor, 67, of Cliff Road, Felixstowe, said people wanted to know why the financial situation had got to its present state and asked whether the alternative services would be good enough.

He said: “The answer will almost certainly be no, at least for some considerable period.

“I think the general public feels that it is being seriously let down.”

At the meeting Dr Massey raised the point that doctors are far from satisfied with the proposed cuts and added that she would like to keep step-down beds for patients who come out of an acute hospital such as Ipswich and need a period of recovery before going home.

Others at the meeting questioned the comparative cost of having a patient in a bed in Ipswich Hospital, in the Bartlet or treated at home.

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