Health campaigners' fury over �500k farm car park

HEALTH campaigners have today accused health chiefs of insulting the people of Suffolk and squandering money by spending �500,000 on car parking.The move in which NHS Suffolk splashed out �475,000 to buy land opposite its plush Bramford headquarters, has been met with fury by health campaigners and fundraisers who said the money should be invested in frontline services instead.

HEALTH campaigners have today accused health chiefs of insulting the people of Suffolk and squandering money by spending �500,000 on car parking.

The move in which NHS Suffolk splashed out �475,000 to buy land opposite its plush Bramford headquarters, has been met with fury by health campaigners and fundraisers who said the money should be invested in frontline services instead.

As revealed in yesterday's Evening Star a further �50,000 will need to be spent on converting part of the site into car parking.

Health campaigner Prue Rush added: “They are insulting the people of Suffolk by squandering money.


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“They should be ashamed of themselves.

“They are working for their own comfort not for the healthcare of Suffolk and I don't think there is any excuse for them to spend so much money.”

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Tony Hawes, of Heartbeat East Suffolk, who campaigned with The Evening Star for better heart care facilities at Ipswich Hospital so emergency heart attack patients do not need to be sent outside Suffolk for treatment, said he was shocked at the spend.

He said: “It sounds like a lot of money for parking.

“That money would pay the cost of heart surgeons at Ipswich Hospital.

“I think they should know better.”

The Star's 'Have a Heart' appeal is raising money to support Ipswich Hospital's quest to improve heart facilities by building a catheter laboratory where high-tech procedures could be carried out.

The campaign hopes to raise �350,000 for the cause - considerably less than the real estate investment of health champions NHS Suffolk.

- Should NHS Suffolk spend �500,000 on car parking? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The farmland controversy

- NHS Suffolk has sparked outrage by splashing out �475,000 on farmland opposite its Bramford headquarters.

- The decision was taken in secret by the chairman and finance director and did not go to a public board meeting.

- The trust, which buys and plans healthcare in the county, wants to convert the 2.5 hectare space into car parking, and possibly transform a dilapidated farmhouse into staff facilities.

- The extra parking spaces are needed partly because NHS Suffolk's staffing numbers have more than doubled from 80 employees in 2006 to 190 today.

- The trust was warned in 2006 not to buy an out-of-town site with no access to public transport and little parking - but it pushed ahead regardless.

Have a Heart appeal

- The Evening Star's “Have a Heart” appeal is raising money to help fund a specialist heart attack centre at Ipswich Hospital.

- Three high-tech primary angioplasty (PPCI) centres have been set up at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Papworth in Cambridge and Basildon in Essex, but not in Suffolk.

- From September 1 serious heart attack patients in Suffolk will be sent to these centres, facing much longer journeys for care than people living nearby, and therefore having less chance of survival.

- Health bosses say Ipswich Hospital does not currently have the infrastructure or staff to provide the service.

- The Evening Star has been campaigning for a primary angioplasty centre to be set up in Ipswich so residents have the best level of care possible and don't face long journeys for treatment.

- After successfully changing healthcare policy with our campaign we have now launched the “Have a Heart” appeal which is raising money to help set up a catheter laboratory at Heath Road.

- The Star is asking for just one pound from every person who may need care at Ipswich Hospital's cardiac department in the future - which would collect around �350,000.

- The lab will originally be used to treat non-urgent heart operations but could eventually be expanded into a primary angioplasty centre.

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