Hospital rebuild to go ahead

IT'S full steam ahead today after the go-ahead was given for a £1.4 million project to turn Felixstowe General into a modern community hospital.

IT'S full steam ahead today after the go-ahead was given for a £1.4 million project to turn Felixstowe General into a modern community hospital.

Martin Royal, who is in charge of the refurbishment project for the Suffolk Primary Care Trust, said the scheme would now be put out to tender and contractors invited to submit bids.

It was hoped to agree a contract as soon as possible so work could start before the end of the year.

The General will close on November 6 when all its services and clinics will be moved into the Bartlet Hospital for up to eight months while the refurbishment takes place.

Suffolk Coastal's south area development control sub committee gave approval for the changes at the building in Constable Road, including demolition of the mortuary.

Mayor Ann Rodwell told the committee Felixstowe councillors welcomed the improvements but were concerned that if the mortuary was removed, it would be difficult to build on the site again - even to provide extra medical facilities as the town grows - because it was in a conservation area.

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“With the horrifying prospect of 3,000 extra new homes to be built we want to safeguard the future and make sure this site could be used if needed,” she said.

However, councillor Mary Dixon said any future application would be judged on its merits and demolition did not mean it could never be built on again.

Mr Royal said the mortuary was derelict and could not be brought back into use without spending £120,000, which the cash-strapped PCT does not have.

Demolition of the building would allow car parking on the hospital site to be given a new lay-out and ten extra spaces provided.

The revamp of the hospital will include a new dining area, a spacious day room, minor operations suite, new toilets, showers and bathrooms, a children's minor injury unit, disabled facilities, and a lift to provide access for all to the first floor.

There will be 16 beds in five single rooms, and then small wards of two, four and five beds.

Around 20 clinics treating a wide variety of illnesses and conditions will be provided as well as the minor injuries unit and x-ray department.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk/felixstowehospital.wmv

What clinics and services would you like to see in the new Felixstowe General? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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