Extra staff needed for health service
RECRUITING more staff and changes to cramped buildings could be two of the key priorities in the future improvement of Felixstowe's health services.Health chiefs have been carrying out a six-month consultation process with residents to find out how they would like to see services develop and the ideas are to be revealed next month.
RECRUITING more staff and changes to cramped buildings could be two of the key priorities in the future improvement of Felixstowe's health services.
Health chiefs have been carrying out a six-month consultation process with residents to find out how they would like to see services develop and the ideas are to be revealed next month.
But while they admit to the being a little disappointed with the response, officials at the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust deny the exercise has been a flop.
Only 65 people have attended two public meetings in the town to give their views, and 140 have sent in questionnaire forms.
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However, 20 meetings have been held with local groups and organisations - including the League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospitals, town council, and care support groups for patients and clinics.
PCT corporate services manager Jeremy Peters said the response had been "a bit disappointing".
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He said: "It was always going to be difficult, especially as we have been honest and said from the outset that we would not close the two hospitals and we wanted to improve services - that's not inspired people to come and protest!
"But the response we have had from the meetings with community groups, the meetings like today where people have come along to learn about the services and give their views, and meetings with nursing staff and GPs have been very constructive indeed."
PCT chief executive Ana Selby said the board meeting on June 9 would hear the strategy for the future of Felixstowe's health services but there would not be a lot of detail.
Further work would have to be done on the proposals and it was expected that they would take three to five years to implement, especially if any building work was involved.
The meeting at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell yesterday - jointly promoted by the PCT and the Evening Star - heard that Dr David Moon, of Central Surgery, had analysed the resort's health services and found them generally excellent.
He particularly praised the work of the hospitals for their primary care, rehabilitation and respite care, X-ray centre, specialists clinics and consultants, and the minor injuries unit used by 12,000 people a year.
But the main problem was the buildings.
Dr Moon found the lay-out "impractical" for modern health services and the minor injuries unit was cramped, with modern equipment squeezed into tiny rooms.
"The support of the League of Friends in working to improve the hospitals has been wonderful, but there is only so much you can do with the lay-out," said Mrs Selby.
The other vital issue was recruiting staff - and, as nationally, it was proving difficult to recruit more employees. There was a need not just for nursing staff but also those who could provide health and social care in people's homes to quicken the transfers from hospital.
n How do you think Felixstowe's health services could be improved? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk