Felixstowe: Call for doctor in the town if Riverside Clinic closes
A community figure has today called for a doctor to be in residence in Felixstowe if a walk-in centre in neighbouring Ipswich shuts up shop.
The Minor Injuries Unit at Felixstowe Community Hospital closes at 10pm and residents have to travel to the Riverside Clinic, in Ipswich, to be seen by a doctor.
But NHS Suffolk are in talks with local GPs and health professionals about the best way of providing care in east Suffolk, and this could result in the closure of the Landseer Road clinic – leaving patients from Felixstowe with nowhere to go other than Accident and Emergency.
Roy Gray, chairman of the Save Our Hospitals Action Group, believes having a resident out-of-hours doctor in Felixstowe would relieve the pressure of Ipswich Hospital in the event of Riverside closing.
He said: “There are always concerns about the future of the (Felixstowe) hospital but with the possible closure of Riverside it would be hoped that the MIU would of course be used more frequently.”
“If there was a doctor in residence between 7pm and 9.30pm then people could go to Felixstowe Hospital.
“It could increase the number of people going there, which would take the pressure off Ipswich Hospital.”
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It is believed that between 50 and 60 people have been using Felixstowe Community Hospital’s MIU between the hours of 7pm and 10pm each month for the past three months but Mr Gray believes the addition of a resident doctor would mean even more would use it.
Following the revelations about Riverside, NHS Suffolk have tried to reassure patients that Harmoni HS, who operate the out of hours service in Suffolk, will still be required to see patients within the target of half-an-hour.
Tracy Dowling, NHS Suffolk’s director of strategic commissioning, said: “They (Harmoni) are reviewing their bases to ensure they can get maximum coverage. We will continue to require them to meet the contractual standard that the patient can be seen within 30 minutes travel time.”