Campaigners prepare for battle

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's hospitals from closure have today formed an action group and are preparing for one huge battle.Chairman Roy Gray said the group was under no illusions about its task and it expected a hard fight with health chiefs determined to save money.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's hospitals from closure have today formed an action group and are preparing for one huge battle.

Chairman Roy Gray said the group was under no illusions about its task and it expected a hard fight with health chiefs determined to save money.

He said: "We know it's going to be a hard task to persuade the powers that be that Felixstowe should keep both its hospitals."

"But we firmly believe Felixstowe needs both its hospitals. They provide different types of care and we need all those services and should not be talking about losing them.

"Felixstowe is expected to grow in the years ahead, with more development, a larger port, more people. We already have a large elderly population and they need the services more than anyone.

"Why should people be expected to go up and down the A14 to Ipswich all the time? We should have those services here."

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The campaign team met for the first time at Broadway House to officially form the Save Felixstowe Hospitals Group.

Its members will each take on specialist roles, researching different aspects of the hospitals and the Primary Care Trust, ready to take their fight to the Health Minister if necessary to persuade the government not to allow services to be cut.

One action group member, Gillian Ib , is researching into the issues surrounding the building of Felixstowe General Hospital, land ownerships, title deeds and so on.

Her great-grandfather Charles Croydon built the General in Constable Road in memory of a friend who died because he could not be transported to Ipswich Hospital in time to save his life.

Mrs Ib said: "I am appalled by the whole situation. How the PCT can sit there and say they could close the hospital to sell it because they are in debt is unbelievable. We cannot sit back and let that happen."

PCTs in east Suffolk say they have debts totalling £18 million and the Strategic Health Authority has said they must cut spending.

n People all over the area are being urged to get involved with the campaign to stop the health cuts.

The Evening Star's petition against the closure of Felixstowe General can be signed in doctors' surgeries, pharmacists and other outlets in the town, and also at the new Evening Star offices at 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.

Posters are also available to display in windows at home or business premises.

n What do you think of the cuts being made in your health services? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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