Felixstowe: Campaigners make bid of zero pounds and demand Bartlet handed back to community

HEALTH chiefs have today been urged to hand over Felixstowe’s Bartlet Hospital to the community.

Campaigners want to turn the old hospital into a health centre for a range of care, but say they are not prepared to pay a penny.

They have made an official bid for the building on Bath Hill of �0.

And they have asked NHS Suffolk to also give them “some recompense from the Bartlet Financial Trust” set up to maintain the convalescent home “in perpetuity”, and to return the facilities to the same standard as when the NHS took over in 1947.

“We are offering the NHS exactly the same amount as they paid for it when they confiscated it – nothing,” said Mike Ninnmey, acting co-ordinator for the Bartlet Bequest Action Group.

“It’s scandalous that a building that was given to the community as a man’s dying wish to be used ‘in perpetuity’ for health is now being sold off in this way.

“NHS Suffolk should give it back and let us run it in the way he intended.

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“That’s what Dr Bartlet would want if he was alive today – we are sure of that.”

Mr Ninnmey said BBAG’s intention was to use the Bartlet for two rehabilitation wards and two respite wards, with the rest of the site used for complementary community health provision.

“It is conservatively estimated that the bed provision would save the NHS around �500,000 annually,” he said.

NHS Suffolk has said it is seeking a bidder with experience in the development of redundant specialist use buildings, but cannot discuss bids or bidders because of commercial sensitivity. Permission has been granted for the building to be converted into apartments and its grounds used for new homes.

The intention is to use money from the sale towards building the new �1million Grove Medical Centre in Felixstowe to replace Central Surgery.