General upgrade delay causes frustration

WORK on a £1.4million project to turn Felixstowe General into a modern community hospital has been delayed while bosses wait for approval from regional health chiefs.

WORK on a £1.4million project to turn Felixstowe General into a modern community hospital has been delayed while bosses wait for approval from regional health chiefs.

Managers at Suffolk Primary Care Trust have been left frustrated because they are eager to start as soon as possible on the scheme - and have already chosen a preferred contractor.

But the trust is waiting for the go-ahead from the Strategic Health Authority to spend the money.

Martin Royal, who is in charge of the refurbishment project at the hospital in Constable Road, said the trust had presented a comprehensive business case to the SHA.

He said: “We can only spend up to £1m and for anything over that we need SHA support.

“We are trying to get as early an approval for the capital expenditure as possible but at the moment we are in limbo, as is our chosen contractor.

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“The trust is determined to refurbish Felixstowe General and we just want to get on with the scheme so we can demonstrate that to the public and so they can see something happening.”

Mr Royal said the trust has impressed upon the SHA the urgency of an early decision - especially as if the delay is too long the contractor would be permitted to revise their tender for the scheme, which could increase the cost of the project.

The PCT has also made an application to the Department of Health for some funding towards the scheme as part of its multi-million pound grant programme for community hospitals.

The Felixstowe General scheme is not dependent on this money and would still go ahead even if the grant application was rejected.

The revamp of the hospital will include a new dining area, a spacious day room, minor operations suite, new toilets, showers and bathrooms, a children's minor injury unit, disabled facilities, and a lift to provide access for all to the first floor.

There will be 16 beds in five single rooms, and then small wards of two, four and five beds.

Around 20 clinics treating a wide variety of illnesses and conditions will be provided, such as gynaecology, ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat, ante natal, dieticians, geriatric, paediatric, podiatry, psychiatry, health visitor drop-in clinics, audiology, family planning, leg ulcers, physio and occupational therapy - as well as the minor injuries unit and x-ray department.

WEBLINK

www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk/felixstowehospital.wmv

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