Hospital fight goes to Whitehall

PROTESTS against moves to close one of Felixstowe's hospitals and change the resort's health services forever are to be taken to the very top - and delivered to Whitehall.

PROTESTS against moves to close one of Felixstowe's hospitals and change the resort's health services forever are to be taken to the very top - and delivered to Whitehall.

More than 16,000 people signed The Evening Star petition against the health cuts, voicing their deep fears over the future of medical care in the town.

Now the Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals action group - which has jointly spearheaded the campaign with the Star and Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer - is to march on the Department of Health to hand over the petition.

Group chairman Roy Gray said: “We want those in government to know the very real and serious concerns the people of Felixstowe have about the cuts to our services.

“We cannot afford to lose such outstanding facilities as the Bartlet Hospital, no-one has confidence in the system put forward to replace it, and we have yet to see any progress to improve services and clinics at Felixstowe General.

“In fact, this week we heard doctors are no longer allowed to undertake minor surgical operations at the General, which is another blow and will mean more trips to Ipswich for patients.

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“We intend to keep fighting and battle onto the end, trying to persuade the powers that be that there must be a better way to run our health services.

“Mr Gummer and the Evening Star have given us fantastic support and we now feel the time is right to hand over the petition and show just how the people of this area feel.”

A letter is also being sent to the Primary Care Trust about the petition so it can be registered as part of the consultation.

The petition will be taken to London on Wednesday November 9. A coach of supporters will travel from Felixstowe, leaving at 8am, to meet Mr Gummer at Richmond House, the headquarters of the Department of Health.

Mr Gummer is meeting Health Minister Patricia Hewitt. It is not known yet whether she will agree to accept the petition or whether a department official will receive it.

The PCT wants to close the Bartlet Hospital because it believes the convalescent and rehabilitation unit will not be necessary in the future as it plans to send people home earlier from hospital to be looked after by teams of travelling carers. The hospital would be sold to help cut the trust's debts.

If you would like to travel on the coach, please contact Roy Gray on 01394 285827 or Peter Mellor on 01394 277754. The cost if £5 and full name, address and date of birth is required for security checks.

WEBLINK: www.saveourhospitals.felixstowecommunity.co.uk

Is closing the Bartlet the right move? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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