Felixstowe health shake up progress

HEALTH chiefs will this week give an update on the progress being made on a radical shake-up of Felixstowe's health services – and seek the public's views.

HEALTH chiefs will this week give an update on the progress being made on a radical shake-up of Felixstowe's health services – and seek the public's views.

Officials from the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust (PCT) are holding a meeting on Friday to discuss changes being made to the General and Bartlet Hospitals.

Corporate services manager Jeremy Peters said invitations had been sent to individuals and organisations which had taken part in the A Fresher Future for Felixstowe consultation exercise in the spring and shown real interest.

The PCT's plans – which it announced in the summer – had not changed, but the trust wanted to keep up the dialogue with people in the town.

He said: "The meeting will be very informal and is a chance for us to give an update on the progress being made and for people to raise any concerns or issues, or to ask questions about the changes.

"It's a chance, too, for residents and representatives of organisations to have an input and give us some feedback.

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"As the plans progress, new angles will come to light, new options, new limitations and constraints that we were not aware of before.

"We want to be as open as we can with the public over possible solutions, and the best way to do that is to speak to the service users to see what they think."

The meeting from 2pm to 4pm at St Felix Church Hall, Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe, will hear how the initial stages of the project are going.

The main changes will see the General in Constable Road turned into an out-patient hospital with moves to try to bring in more clinics.

The much-used minor injuries unit, which treats 15,000 people a year, will continue to give 24-hour cover seven days a week, and will be expanded.

The Bartlet will continue as a convalescent and rehabilitation unit, but with only 25 beds instead of 58 for this use.

It will have a second ward of 25 beds which will be operated exclusively by Felixstowe GPs for their patients – beds which were previously at the General.

Although this will mean a reduction of around 30 beds in total, 47 per cent of the beds at the convalescent unit are occupied by Ipswich residents, who in future will go to the new Ravenswood project.

Mr Peters said the PCT was working hard to explain the changes and ensure people understand them and encouraging people to communicate their views.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal-pct.nhs.uk

n What do you think of the plans for the General and Bartlet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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