Fight for the Bartlet, campaigners urge

RESIDENTS who care about the future of Suffolk healthcare are being urged to do “everything in their power” to prevent the sale of the Bartlet Hospital.

COMMUNITY members who care about the future of Suffolk healthcare are being urged to do “everything in their power” to prevent the sale of the Bartlet Hospital.

The Bartlet Bequest Action Group held a public meeting in St Augustine's Church, Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, to drum up support in the area for their cause.

The hospital is currently up for sale and it is expected the potential buyer will be announced in the week or two. Suffolk Primary Care Trust has said the three preferred options have nothing to do with providing healthcare facilities.

At present the Bartlet is home to Felixstowe General Hospital, which is to undergo a £1.4m refurbishment.

The group is outraged at the idea that the hospital will be sold and not be used for healthcare facilities and called for people power to prevent that from happening.

At yesterday's public meeting, chairman of the group Elizabeth Pearce said: “Everything we do now is incredibly time sensitive. We need to up the ante to uphold this very precious facility. The PCT wants to make people have care in the home, but this is not good enough for a lot of people.”

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The campaigners are currently putting a legal case together over certain decisions that have been made by the NHS, but said, should their case get to court, and lose, they would need £50,000 in the bank. They are also looking at setting up a charity in their name and looking at fundraising projects.

Among the ideas suggested from the small gathering of supporters at the meeting were lottery funding and writing letters to influential figures like MPs.

Ms Pearce added: “We need pledges from supporters to help us spread the word. This is a much bigger issue than just a local one. This is not about another Felixstowe Hospital closing- this will affect all those from Halesworth through to Manningtree. The health service is letting us down in many ways and it is only going to get worse.

“I am very confident we will keep it if we fight hard enough for it.”

Another member of the action group Dr Janet Massey said the design of the Bartlet was particularly good as it addressed the needs of its patients and had a window by every bed with a nursing station situated in the middle of the ward.

Vice chairman Barry Farr said: “Go out and spread the message. If this facility goes, all of a sudden people will wake up and then it will be too late. I would rather we fought this and lost than not fight it at all.”

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