Hospital campaign grows in strength

LEAVE our hospital alone!That is the view today of more than 11,000 angry and worried people who have signed the petition run by the Evening Star and Save Felixstowe Hospitals action group.

LEAVE our hospital alone!

That is the view today of more than 11,000 angry and worried people who have signed the petition run by the Evening Star and Save Felixstowe Hospitals action group.

They are sending a clear message to health chiefs that they want the General Hospital to remain open and for its clinics and services to be expanded and the minor injuries unit to be kept and improved.

But while the initial part of the campaign has focussed on the importance of the General, supporters also want to see the Bartlet remain open and they stress the unit is not a community hospital as it doesn't just serve the resort's residents.

There is still time to add your signature to the petition - and this weekend will be the last big effort to gather as many names as possible.

The Evening Star will be staging a signing session on The Triangle in Hamilton Road from 10am to midday on Saturday , and then there will be another chance to sign at the League of Friends' fete at the Bartlet Hospital in the afternoon.

Most Read

Pharmacists, surgeries, shops, restaurants, the Star office at 172 Hamilton Road, and other outlets also have the petition forms, or people can sign the form on this page and send it to our Felixstowe office.

Petition co-ordinator Ian Heeley said: "So far we have had more than 11,000 people sign the petition and that is a fantastic response - it really shows how much the people of Felixstowe want to keep the General and sends a very clear message to those in power.

"People are still signing every day and we want to get as many signatures as we possibly can.

"We want the Primary Care Trust to listen to the public on this issue - and the public is saying we want to keep our hospital, so leave it alone.

"This is our health service and we should have the biggest say on how we want it run and the services we want, and where we want them."

Mr Heeley said it had not been decided as yet to whom the petition would be presented - there are plans to invite Health Minister Patricia Hewitt to the town to hear people's concerns and it could be handed over to her.

If not, it may be taken to the Department of Health in London, or to the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust or Strategic Health Authority.


FELIXSTOWE editor RICHARD CORNWELL finds the close-to-home service at the Felixstowe General is just the tonic.

FOR the staff at the General it was another typical summer Sunday evening - a busy waiting room of people needing attention for the day's knocks and cuts.

When we arrived it was almost full and, soon afterwards, it was.

But despite being very busy the nurses and other staff were kind, gentle and cheerful as they dealt with each family needing their attention, working quickly and efficiently with young and old, keeping everyone calm and safe.

There was a little girl from Woodbridge with a cut hand, who was very brave but then suddenly became frightened when her name was called for treatment.

There were adults needing attention for a variety of ailments, and older people needing dressings changed.

Then there was our Elliot, 12, who was in agony after having had sand thrown in his face by a toddler on the beach and needed to have his eye washed and swabbed.

When we arrived we only had to wait a few moments (for the person in front of us in the queue to be dealt with) to give our details. Elliot is used to the minor injuries unit (MIU) - asthma attacks bring him here occasionally - and his details were already on a file in the cupboard.

After a lovely conversation with the admin staff, we took our places in the waiting area. I always come equipped with a book to read, much to everyone's amusement - you rarely get into a chapter at the General before being called.

Within 20 minutes, Elliot and mum Rachel were in with the nurse. Eye cleaned, all sand gone, and just 45 minutes after we set out we were back home.

Imagine no General for the same incident - a trip up the A14 to Ipswich Hospital to casualty, a long wait to be seen, possibly hours waiting for treatment, and then back down the A14. Madness. Not just for us, but all those people passing through the MIU that evening.

Felixstowe General and its excellent staff provide a wonderful service for our town - and long may they be allowed to continue to do so.