Felixstowe General prepares for future

STAFF at Felixstowe's General Hospital are preparing to vacate the building - ready for workmen to move in to carry out a £1.4 million refurbishment project.

STAFF at Felixstowe's General Hospital are preparing to vacate the building - ready for workmen to move in to carry out a £1.4 million refurbishment project.

On November 6, the Bartlet Hospital will become the General for six months as it houses its clinics, the minor injuries unit - which will have extended opening hours to 10pm - and other services.

Beds will be moved upstairs, and around £25,000-worth of work will be done to the convalescent and rehabilitation unit to provide the accommodation for the General's clinics on the ground floor.

Announcement of the details of the move by officials from the Suffolk Primary Care Trust is the latest step in their commitment to turn Felixstowe General into a modern community hospital.

Director of business development Martin Royal said: “At the moment less than 40 per cent of the General is used for hospital services - this work will mean more than 80pc of it is.

“This will be a very buzzy hospital with lots happening and that is good news for the community.

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“I think people still view our proposals for refurbishment with scepticism, and I can understand their concern. But this project is definitely going to take place and I cannot wait to see it started.”

Planning permission is scheduled to be decided on October 12, and as long as the go-ahead is given, talks will start immediately with contractors.

The aim is to make a start as soon as possible, with the project to take around six months.

Although initial cost guestimates have risen to £1.4m, Mr Royal is confident the overall cost will be less once contracts are signed, and there will be savings in running costs in future with more efficient telephone, heating and other systems.

During the work, patients should notice no changes in service, except they will have to visit the Bartlet for treatment and there will be no x-rays as the machinery cannot be moved.

The new General will have around 20 clinics treating a wide variety of illnesses and conditions, plus the minor injuries unit and a children's MIU area, a new dining room and day room for in-patients, 16 beds, x-ray department, a lift, upstairs physio clinics, and a new minor operations suite.

Beds will be in small flexible wards ranging from single rooms to up to five beds, meeting all space regulations to respect dignity and privacy.

A computer-generated walk-through of the new improved hospital can be seen on the PCT website.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk/felixstowehospital.wmv

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