Hospital campaign gathers speed

HUNDREDS more people added their names over the weekend to the petition to save Felixstowe's hospitals from closure.More than 12,000 people have now signed the petition, organised by The Evening Star and the action group fighting the possible closure of either the General or Bartlet Hospital.

HUNDREDS more people added their names over the weekend to the petition to save Felixstowe's hospitals from closure.

More than 12,000 people have now signed the petition, organised by The Evening Star and the action group fighting the possible closure of either the General or Bartlet Hospital.

The Star held a signing session on The Triangle in Hamilton Road for shoppers to pledge their support to the campaign.

Meanwhile, there were further opportunities for people to sign up and let their voice be heard at the League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospitals' annual fete - which it was feared could be the last - and other fetes and fun days in the town.

As people signed they voiced their anger over the proposals - saying they wanted more health services in Felixstowe, not less, and objected to the prospect of having to travel to Ipswich.

Peter Mellor, a member of the action group committee, was encouraged by the public support but felt the campaign needed to be stepped up.

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He said: "I don't think we have challenged the government enough over this issue yet and we should be finding out what they have to say - they are forcing the primary care trusts to pay off their debts early and make cuts.

"For them to say it will not effect health care is just sick."

Mr Mellor said if the Bartlet was closed it would cause serious problems for Ipswich Hospital - and called for wider support for the rehabilitation unit.

He added: "The Bartlet is not just a hospital for Felixstowe - Ipswich Hospital cannot cope without it. Where will they send people in future?"

Petition co-ordinator Ian Heeley said the final signatures on the petition would be collected this week.

He said: "We have a number of forms to collect and a lot to come in from the port. The public support has been tremendous.

"The petition is a great weapon to have to show how the public feels and we shall hand it to the appropriate authority at the right time."

Pharmacists, surgeries, shops, restaurants, the Star office at 172 Hamilton Road, and other outlets also have the petition forms.

n What do you think about the possible closure of the General or Bartlet Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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