Health bosses meet wall of anger

PROTESTORS from all over the county turned out in noisy protest today to heckle health bosses in a bid to save Suffolk's hospitals from drastic cuts.There was a tense atmosphere as scores of angry protestors gathered in Kesgrave to voice their disgust at proposed cuts to Suffolk's health services.

PROTESTORS from all over the county turned out in noisy protest today to heckle health bosses in a bid to save Suffolk's hospitals from drastic cuts.

There was a tense atmosphere as scores of angry protestors gathered in Kesgrave to voice their disgust at proposed cuts to Suffolk's health services.

Around 30 campaigners from across the county gathered outside a meeting of the Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts waving placards and banners with slogans such as “Save the Bartlet, don't sell the family silver.”

Margaret Simpson, from Felixstowe, was part of a crowd blowing whistles and shaking football rattles as health bosses entered the building.


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She said: “We are greatly incensed. We are in grave danger of losing our hospitals. Who's going to care for people in the community.”

Other protestors had made the trip from Aldeburgh to campaign about cuts to their hospital.

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Lamorna Good of the Aldeburgh Hospital Action Group said: “We felt we had to come out to draw attention to what's going on in our local hospitals. There are not enough carers left available in the community even if you can afford to pay for them and we are very worried about what is going to happen to people.”

Board members were due to hold their annual public meeting followed by an ordinary board meeting where they were to look in more detail at the financial gains they would make from closing community hospitals and providing more services closer to home.

The PCT are currently in the middle of consulting on a document called Changing For The Better, which sets out proposals to close the Bartlet Hospital in Felixstowe, Hartismere Hospital in Eye, three mental health day hospitals and the Hayward Day Hospital.

There are also proposals to close the Hollies Garden Centre and The Pines Occupational Therapy Centre at St Clements, and two mental health club houses.

The ongoing public consultation will end on November 30 and at today's meeting the board were due to announce the date when the final decisions will be made.

The protests came on the day Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is due to address the Labour Party Conference with her vision of the NHS of the future. The protests came on the day health secretary Patricia Hewitt is due to address the Labour Party Conference with her vision of the NHS of the future and defend plans to give private firms a greater role in the NHS.

Unions are expected to win a vote at the Labour Party conference today, condemning what they see as creeping privatisation of the health service.

Perhaps she would do well to take heed of one of the banners in Kesgrave today which said: “Stop passing the buck Hewitt. You're coming unstuck.”

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