Campaigners still fighting for Barlet

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital have written to health minister Patricia Hewitt asking her to reconsider her decision to close it.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital have written to health minister Patricia Hewitt asking her to reconsider her decision to close it.

The Bartlet Bequest Action Group has told Ms Hewitt she was did not have the full facts when she made her decision - claiming closure was ordered for the wrong reasons.

The group says the Bartlet is not a hospital but a convalescent home - though Suffolk Primary Care Trust, in line with national policy, is not providing convalescent care in hospital buildings future.

Depending on Ms Hewitt's reply legal action may take place against the government.


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Action group press officer Alan Miller said: “Ms Hewitt said the Bartlet should close because Felixstowe doesn't need two hospitals.

“But our contention is the Bartlet is not a hospital, but a convalescent home and that it was left in perpetuity by Dr Bartlet for the people of east Suffolk to be used as a convalescent home.

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“We are questioning the validity of the minister's decision on that basis.”

He stressed the group did not want its action to undermine plans to refurbish Felixstowe General Hospital - a £1.4 million project starting today - even though part of the funding for this will come from the sale of the Bartlet.

Mr Miller said Kerseys solicitors were also investigating what had happened to the trust fund left by Dr Bartlet to pay for the running of the convalescent home.

The action group is holding a public meeting on Friday at 7.30pm at Broadway House, Orwell Road, Felixstowe, to outline latest developments.

It is also hoping to hold a public meeting in Ipswich, and is writing to all parish clerks, seeking funding for its fight.

Mr Miller said the Bartlet but served an area stretching from Halesworth to Hoxne, Hadleigh to Capel and the group needed support from a wide area.

Suffolk PCT has decided in future people will be discharged from hospital sooner after treatment and be looked after at home by travelling teams of care workers.

It has said it was in the process of the technical evaluation with those who have made bids to buy the Bartlet. One condition of sale is that healthcare services need to be up and running at Felixstowe General before ownership is transferred.

Do you think it is too late to save 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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