Decision over hospital fight due soon

CAMPAIGNERS will make a final decision within the next few days over whether to give up their fight to save the Bartlet Hospital or take a case to the High Court.

CAMPAIGNERS will make a final decision within the next few days over whether to give up their fight to save the Bartlet Hospital or take a case to the High Court.

Options are still being examined, but time is running out and a decision must be made soon.

Primary Care Trust officials are preparing to use the Bartlet for six months prior to its closure as Felixstowe's main community hospital while the General undergoes a £1.2 million refurbishment.

But if a judicial review is sought of health minister Patricia Hewitt's decision to close the convalescent and rehabilitation unit, then the plans to modernise the General would be put on ice - and possibly in jeopardy altogether.


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Roy Gray, chairman of the Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group (SOHAG), said: “We are looking at all the possible options at the moment.

“We are exploring fully whether we could take a case through the courts and what this would involve and are still talking to the legal people about all sorts of issues.

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“Nothing has been decided - and nothing has been ruled out.

“Once we have all the information we will sit down and discuss it and then make our decision, and this will be done in the next four or five days.”

Mr Gray said it would be a very tough decision.

It was not simply a case of whether it was to fight to keep the Bartlet no matter what, but the committee needed to assess how continuing the fight would affect Felixstowe General - not just the definite delay and disruption to its refurbishment, but possibly its long-term future, especially if a court was to rule that the Bartlet should stay open.

The PCT is hoping closure can be carried out as smoothly as possible. It has submitted plans to Suffolk Coastal council for changes to the General and hopes to start the work as soon as permission is granted.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk

Do you think the action group have done enough - is it worth putting Felixstowe General at risk by continuing to fight for 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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