Health petition handed in to Commons

A 15,000-signature Evening Star petition protesting against the closure of Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital has been handed over in the House of Commons.The petition was presented along with 43 others expressing concern over the future of community hospitals around the country in what is believed to be the largest ever hand over of petitions to Parliament.

A 15,000-signature Evening Star petition protesting against the closure of Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital has been handed over in the House of Commons.

The petition was presented along with 43 others expressing concern over the future of community hospitals around the country in what is believed to be the largest ever hand over of petitions to Parliament.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer presented the petition on behalf of Felixstowe Bartlet and General Hospitals, and also cuts being made at Aldeburgh Hospital.

He said all three hospitals were built by public subscription and were said to be perfectly safe immediately before the election and told they were to be closed or halved in size immediately afterwards.

He said: “It is therefore unsurprising that my constituents feel strongly about that. I believe that the government, who have not so far done so, should listen to them.”

Presentation of the petitions took place at a late-night sitting in the house following a rally in Old Palace Yard opposite Parliament organised by Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together (CHANT) against the cuts.

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People from all over Suffolk, including a coachload from Felixstowe, took part in the rally.

Mr Gummer said “I cannot believe the closure of the Bartlet is to take place for clinical reasons.

“Before the election we were told there were good clinical reasons for having the Bartlet as an in-patient hospital with 50 beds and the General as an out-patient hospital. As soon as the election is over there is good clinical reasons for closing it and doing something else - but apparently that is nothing to do with having to pay back £26 million debts!”

Mr Gummer said east Suffolk was not suffering from overspending, but under-funding.

In east Suffolk average government grant per head was only 90 per cent of the average spending on health - yet in Manchester it was 124pc. Suffolk had 22pc of people over the age of 65 - a group which needs greater care - compared with 17pc nationally and so had a lot of people to look after.

He added: “We have got to get this point home because I think there is some political sleight of hand taking place.”

WEBLINK: www.chantonline.com

Would you have voted differently if the NHS crisis had been revealed before the election? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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