Concern over future of hospital
SUPPORTERS of Felixstowe's community hospital today said they are "perturbed, upset and concerned" that its future is soon to be under review.And today they vowed to keep a close eye on options brought forward for future medical care in the town – and to fight tooth and nail to keep the hospital unless there is an adequate replacement and no services are lost.
SUPPORTERS of Felixstowe's community hospital today said they are "perturbed, upset and concerned" that its future is soon to be under review.
And today they vowed to keep a close eye on options brought forward for future medical care in the town – and to fight tooth and nail to keep the hospital unless there is an adequate replacement and no services are lost.
Campaigners who successfully fought to keep the town's Bartlet Hospital open five years ago said they had no objection to progress.
"I can understand why the authorities might want to get rid of the General because it is an old building, but I would want to see proper investment in a modern replacement," said Roy Gray, chairman of the Bartlet and General Support Group.
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"It is essential that we have a hospital in Felixstowe for the people of Felixstowe.
"The minor injuries unit and X-ray departments are always busy and must take a lot of pressure off Ipswich Hospital, besides relieving the public of having to travel to Ipswich and all the hassle that goes with that.
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"The wards are full of patients and their families are happy that they are looked after locally."
Mr Gray said supporters were "perturbed, upset and concerned" and would be meeting with a view to impressing upon Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust the need for the earliest public consultation over any ideas for change.
"The PCT must not be allowed to consider closing the General without providing a similar facility in Felixstowe. We will be keeping a very close eye on this situation."
PCT officials say their review of health services for the town is in the early stages but they have refused to give an assurance over the future of the General – though they have pledged its services would not be lost.
They are expected to bring forward a series of options for care, and these could include keeping the hospital in Constable Road.
But it is becoming harder to adapt the building, which does not have much space for new services, and one option could be to sell its site and use the money as part of an investment into a similar-sized state of the art building in the town.
Ana Selby, chief executive of the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust, which runs Felixstowe General, has promised full consultation with the public over any changes.
"We are talking about health services for the 21st century and we have to think carefully about where some of these services should be. We need to think not just about bricks and mortar but about the services we provide and how we can best provide that care," said Mrs Selby.
n What do you think – does Felixstowe need a hospital? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk