Fresh campaign for saving Bartlet

ANOTHER public meeting is to be held tonight to see if the public will back a fresh campaign to try to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital from closure.

ANOTHER public meeting is to be held tonight to see if the public will back a fresh campaign to try to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital from closure.

Mike Ninnmey , of the Bartlet Bequest Action Group (BBAG), said unless there was widespread support for the hospital to continue as a convalescent home, it would not get saved.

“Part of the problem we have is that the Bartlet is called a hospital when its role has been for convalescence,” he said.

“Its name should never have been changed to hospital because it then becomes part of separate legislation. We believe we need it to continue as a convalescent home - the original intention of its founder Dr John Bartlet - because the need for that service is still there today and will be more so in future.”

Tonight's meeting takes place at 7.30pm at Broadway House, the senior citizens' day centre in Orwell Road, Felixstowe.

The aim is to seek public endorsement and show support for the retention of the Bartlet and to set up a steering committee for the new campaign group.

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Mr Ninnmey said: “The meeting is being held in Felixstowe and the Bartlet is in Felixstowe. But the Bartlet is a convalescent home for a much wider area - this issue should be as important to the people of east Suffolk as a whole because it is their facility.

“We need to gain support from a much wider area than just Felixstowe.”

Solicitors have been asked to investigate several potential legal loopholes which it is hoped could stop the convalescent and rehabilitation unit shutting.

However, Suffolk Primary Care Trust will not be providing convalescent care in the same way in the future - and will be sending patients home earlier from hospital to be looked after by travelling care teams.

It is selling the Bartlet and has had considerable interest from potential buyers with a range of projects for the listed building. Officials are currently going through the proposals in detail and expect to meet prospective developers in the next few weeks.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk

Do you think it is still possible to save the Bartlet or has the battle been fought and lost? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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