Health clinic back up and running

ONE of Felixstowe's busiest health clinics is up and running again after being suspended because no room could be found for it in the resort's new community hospital.

ONE of Felixstowe's busiest health clinics is up and running again after being suspended because no room could be found for it in the resort's new community hospital.

Hundreds of elderly patients use the chiropody services, which were based in the house next door to the hospital in Constable Road.

It had been planned to move the service into the main hospital as part of the £1.76 million refurbishment, but after design changes to the lay-out of the building no space could be found for it.

Now the service has been put into the annexe at the former Bartlet Hospital - though health bosses say it is only temporary and permanent premises are still being sought.

Dawn Godbold, head of adult services at Suffolk PCT, said: “We are pleased to have been able to restart some podiatry sessions in Felixstowe within the last couple of weeks, running four sessions per week using temporary accommodation at the Bartlett Annexe.

“We hope to gradually increase these sessions to the full service of eight to ten sessions per week within the next four weeks, but as the temporary accommodation is not suitable for all patients, we have also increased the number of home visits.

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“Podiatry service staff are working extremely hard to ensure the best service possible at this time, and we remain actively seeking permanent premises to run the service in the longer term.”

The annexe, which is still being used as office accommodation, stands at the entrance to the Bartlet's driveway and was originally part of the Bath Hotel torched by suffragettes as part of their campaign for the vote for women.

It is being sold with the main Bartlet building, probably to be converted into luxury flats.

The chiropody clinic cannot go back into its old premises because they are being turned into a children's centre.

PCT managers have also been in contact with doctors' surgeries in the town - but none have been able to provide the room needed for two or three staff and their equipment.

Resident Richard Lord, who voiced concern over the future of the clinic, has labelled the failure to put such an important clinic in the new hospital as “a joke”.

He said: “Surely, this unit should be housed with all other clinics at the hospital and maybe the clerical offices should find suitable premises within the town, as clerical work is done mainly on computers and it does not matter where they are situated.”

How important is the chiropody department - should it be in the hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk