Legal bid to save Bartlet
SOLICITORS were today launching a legal bid to stop the sale of Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital - and keep it as a place for convalescent care.Kerseys in Ipswich have started the process by writing to health minister Patricia Hewitt and said depending on the reply they receive will take the first steps to a challenge against the government in the High Court.
By Richard Cornwell
SOLICITORS were today launching a legal bid to stop the sale of Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital - and keep it as a place for convalescent care.
Kerseys in Ipswich have started the process by writing to health minister Patricia Hewitt and said depending on the reply they receive will take the first steps to a challenge against the government in the High Court.
Meanwhile, it has emerged Suffolk Primary Care Trust is talking to three bidders for the hospital, which currently houses Felixstowe's minor injuries unit and other services while the General Hospital is being refurbished.
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However, none of the bidders want to use the Bartlet for medical care and all would need planning permission to change its use.
Kerseys and their clients, the Bartlet Bequest Action Group, were today holding a press conference to explain their reasons and the injunction they will need to seek to stop the sale proceeding.
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What the group has not been able to explain is how they will pay for the running of the building and where the patients will come from if it was to continue as a convalescent home, especially as the PCT is now providing convalescent care via travelling teams looking after people at home.
Action group press officer Alan Miller said the group was challenging the validity of Ms Hewitt's decision to close the Bartlet because she was under the impression it was a hospital. It was not a hospital but a convalescent home.
He said: “The Bartlet Convalescent Home was left to the people of east Suffolk, served by the Ipswich Hospital, in perpetuity. With the deteriorating state of care in this area, particularly for the aged, the Bartlet is a key facility which must not be lost.”
The action group is holding a public meeting tomorrow at 7.30pm at Broadway House senior citizens' centre, Orwell Road, Felixstowe, to outline latest developments.
It is also hoping to hold a meeting in Ipswich soon, and is writing to all parish clerks, seeking £60,000 funding for its legal fight.
Mr Miller said the Bartlet served an area stretching from Halesworth to Hoxne, Hadleigh to Capel and the group needed support from a wide area.