Dead doctors sign petition

A PETITION opposing the closure of Felixstowe health services has today collected the signatures of 29 deceased doctors.The medics have put their names to the 15,000 signature from beyond the grave thanks to retired doctor Irvine Reid.

A PETITION opposing the closure of Felixstowe health services has today collected the signatures of 29 deceased doctors.

The medics have put their names to the 15,000 signature from beyond the grave thanks to retired doctor Irvine Reid.

Dr Reid, of Bath Road, Felixstowe, knew many of the doctors personally and feels they would agree with his position to save the town's health services.

The petition was set up in opposition to the proposed closure of The Bartlet Hospital and potential bed closures at Felixstowe General.


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Dr Reid said: “I thought a few names from the history of the place might be an indication to somebody.

“They all worked at the hospitals and were there when the General opened at the beginning of the century.”

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The east Suffolk healthcare system is currently in £47.9million debt and closing the Bartlet and its annexe could create £3.44m through the sale of the site.

Suffolk East Primary Care Trust (PCT) has announced it is considering the closure of the Bartlet Hospital and make changes to services at Felixstowe General to help it write off millions of pounds of debt.

Instead of people spending time in hospital for rehabilitation and convalescence, they will be sent home much earlier to be looked after by special travelling teams of carers.

But campaigners fighting to save Felixstowe's hospitals are concerned that a valuable service may be lost.

Dr Reid, 75, who previously treated patients at both hospitals, said the treatment of minor injuries at Ipswich Hospital could create a strain on other services.

He said: “The hospitals are just so utterly useful for the people of Felixstowe.

“My son-in-law damaged his eye. He had a balloon blow up in his eye and he went to the minor injuries unit in the Bartlet and was seen, dealt with and home in 40 minutes.

“If he had to go to Ipswich he would probably have got there in 20 minutes and sat there for three or four hours.

“My daughter drove him and it took less than 45 minutes. If he had gone to Ipswich and I hadn't been round to babysit he would have had to call an ambulance which would have put a cost on to the ambulance service.

“They would have taken him there and he would have had to find his own way back. There would have been a major involvement and a major expense.”

Dr Reid retired from the health service more than 15 years ago and has strong beliefs that the Bartlet should remain open.

He added: “I spent 35 years at the Felixstowe General and the Bartlet.

“I don't know what the current boys think about it but if this was suggested when I had been there I would have been 100 per cent against it.

“Everybody that I talk to has said the hospital must remain open.”

Residents are being invited to attend a special meeting tonight to hear health chiefs being questioned about their proposals to cut medical services in Felixstowe.

Tonight at 7.30pm PCT officials will attend an extraordinary meeting of Felixstowe Town council to explain the situation. The meeting at Broadway House, the senior citizens' centre in Orwell Road, will be open to the public but they will not be allowed to contribute to the debate.

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