Hospital campaigners keep up fight

CLOSURE of the Bartlet Hospital has highlighted the need for its services with bed-blockers having nowhere to go, campaigners claimed today.About 25 people took part in a protest “bed push” along Felixstowe prom to try to spark fresh debate over the lack of convalescent homes in Suffolk.

CLOSURE of the Bartlet Hospital has highlighted the need for its services with bed-blockers having nowhere to go, campaigners claimed today.

About 25 people took part in a protest “bed push” along Felixstowe prom to try to spark fresh debate over the lack of convalescent homes in Suffolk.

The walk passed the sites of former homes at the Herman de Stern in Sea Road, Suffolk Convalescent Home at Convalescent Hill and the Bartlet - where more than 140 beds have been lost.

Barry Farr, vice chairman of Bartlet Care Limited, which is still fighting for a medical or community use to be found for the former hospital, said he was pleased with the turnout for the walk on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon.

“People are still determined to keep fighting and they want the Bartlet back,” he said.

“I think the closure of the Bartlet has only served to highlight how much it was needed.

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“Bed-blocking hasn't gone away and people are still stuck in Ipswich Hospital, which has done everything it can for them, waiting for a place in a nursing home because they cannot return to their own home.

“The hospital understandably wants the bed, and the patient does not want to be stuck in hospital.

“If the Bartlet was open it could provide 40 beds quite easily where these people could recover in safety and with confidence until a care package could be arranged or they were properly fit and able to return to their own home.

“People have an attitude that you cannot take on the government but people throughout the world are taking on governments, some of them facing guns and tanks - we don't have to face that so we should be able to pluck up the courage and say what we think is wrong and that the Bartlet is still desperately needed.”

Suffolk Primary Care Trust is now providing convalescent care for patients at home through travelling care teams.

It says modern health care allows people to leave hospital sooner and fitter than before and most people prefer to be in their own home.

What do you think the Bartlet should become? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk