Felixstowe battle goes to London

A COACHLOAD of campaigners from Felixstowe is set to march on Westminster next month as part of a massive national demonstration against the closure of community hospitals.

A COACHLOAD of campaigners from Felixstowe is set to march on Westminster next month as part of a massive national demonstration against the closure of community hospitals.

Up to 80 hospitals across the country face a threat to their future - including Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital, Hartismere, and the Walnuttree at Sudbury.

The rally in London is being organised by CHANT - Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together - which hopes thousands will attend to lobby MPs.

Roy Gray, chairman of Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals action group, said: “We will definitely be supporting this rally and taking a coach from Felixstowe - we hope other campaign groups fighting the health cuts in Suffolk will do the same.

“It is important we show MPs - and particularly government ministers - exactly how people feel about these cuts.

“Community hospitals are precious to those they serve and it is dreadful to see so many faced with closure just to save money.

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“We do not believe Suffolk East Primary Care Trust's plans for health care in the future will work at all and can foresee all sorts of problems.

“Other parts of the country have other problems and issues and we need to all show our concern.”

Graham Stuart, chairman of CHANT, said the rally would take place outside the Houses of Parliament on March 28 in Old Palace Yard between 1pm and 2pm. Supporters are invited to gather from 12 noon.

“We urge all supporters of community hospitals, whether threatened or not, to come to Westminster to demonstrate the collective strength of feeling for the preservation and development of community hospitals,” he said.

“The government's White Paper appeared encouraging in its support for community hospitals but many remain under the immediate threat of closure or reductions in services.

“PCTs have not been absolved of the need to balance their year end budgets and this remains the major factor behind proposed and recently announced closures.”

PCT chiefs want to close the Bartlet and replace it with travelling care teams looking after people in their homes.

To book a place on the Felixstowe coach, people should phone Peter Mellor on 01394 277754.

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