Children's unit put on hold
CREATION of a special children's minor injuries unit at Felixstowe General has today been put on hold while the future of the hospital is decided.It had been hoped work would be under way on the new unit – the first stage of turning the hospital into a centre of excellence for children – this month after a successful fundraising appeal by the Evening Star.
CREATION of a special children's minor injuries unit at Felixstowe General has today been put on hold while the future of the hospital is decided.
It had been hoped work would be under way on the new unit - the first stage of turning the hospital into a centre of excellence for children - this month after a successful fundraising appeal by the Evening Star.
Thanks to the generosity of readers and supporters, the success of the Helping Our Children appeal meant the children-friendly waiting and treatment area could be created and tenders were sought for the work.
But now health chiefs have been forced to delay the project because it needs to fit in with other work to be done at the hospital in Constable Road - and they have not yet got the money for the whole scheme.
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Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said the children's unit would go ahead but it had been put on hold until a decision was made on what else would happen at Felixstowe General.
Because the PCT is in such dire straits with its finances, proposals for extra out-patients clinics and other work had been put to the Strategic Health Authority (SHA), which was now considering cash help.
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She said: "The strategic outline business case for the work given to the SHA has come back to us with certain questions and issues and asked us to look at the case again.
"Because of that there has been a delay to the building work on the children's project.
"We were quite anxious about starting work on something which then might have to be changed or reconfigured depending on what is decided for the whole of the General, so the work has been put on hold.
"The SHA has to look at the big picture for the hospital and how it fits in with the health services of the area."
It is understood around £164,000 is needed for all the work at the General.
The appeal was supported by generous donations from the PCT, the Port of Felixstowe's owner Hutchison Ports, businesses, as well as money raised by Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society's 977 special dividend number, readers and at the Evening Star Christmas carol service.
The hospital's League of Friends will pay for equipment for the new area.
Plans envisage redundant toilets being removed to create a treatment room able to take a bed, sink and equipment, and provide a waiting area with murals, toys and furniture for children, separate from adults and to make a visit to hospital less frightening.
Other plans for the General include a new state-of-the-art school dental service department, speech therapy, health visitors' base, and other children's clinics, as well as a new podiatry department, physio moved from the Bartlet annexe, four clinics for services to be brought from Ipswich, an audiology room, to go with the X-ray and ultrasound facilities.