Listen to us over health

IT'S time today to stand up and be counted - and join the fight.That's the call from campaigners who say now is the time to show health bosses exactly how we feel about the huge cuts they want to make to our services.

IT'S time today to stand up and be counted - and join the fight.

That's the call from campaigners who say now is the time to show health bosses exactly how we feel about the huge cuts they want to make to our services.

We must tell them forcibly that we don't want our hospitals to close - and we don't want to be stitched up and left with a health service worse than that enjoyed by previous generations.

Britain is one of the richest countries in the world, yet our health service is poverty stricken.

But the decision-makers cannot be allowed to get away with it.

They cannot close hospitals and services, send people home to be left alone with occasional calls from carers or left in acute hospitals to bed-block, and call it Changing for the Better.

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Campaigners say that is an insult.

Tomorrow people have a chance to show how they feel by joining a proposed peaceful protest when board members from the Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts meet at Kesgrave.

It is hoped hundreds of people will turn up at the meeting to make their feelings known - and to sit and hold up the front page of tonight's Evening Star with the message Don't Stitch Us Up!

The combined board meeting is taking place at Kesgrave War Memorial Community Centre.

Although it starts at 10.15am, people are encouraged to start assembling around 9am so the PCT members see the demonstration when they arrive.

Roy Gray, chairman of the Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals group, which is fighting to save the Bartlet Hospital from closure, hoped as many people as possible would protest.

“It's a peaceful protest - we just want to the PCT to appreciate how the public feels about their proposals,” he said.

“We do not want our health services cut and it is important we keep the levels of service we have for now and in the future.”

Mr Gray said it was hoped more young families would join the campaign and make their feelings known by taking part in the consultation process.

Hundreds of copies of the Changing for the Better consultation document had now been distributed to parents outside schools and in Felixstowe town centre.

The PCT has stressed no final decisions on the future of health services will be made at the meeting as consultation is still going on.

WEBLINK: www.saveourhospitals.felixstowecommunity.co.uk

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

HOSPITAL chiefs today claimed the Bartlet was “not fit-for-purpose for a modern health service” - just months after saying it would last another 50 years.

Earlier this year, Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust pledged a multi-million pound revamp of the convalescent and rehabilitation unit at Felixstowe.

Officials said they wanted it to still be serving the community as a hospital in 50 years' time and its future was safe.

Astonishingly, today they claim the reverse is true.

In a report to tomorrow's annual meeting and combined board of Suffolk East PCTs, officers say they hope to sell the Bartlet site “as soon as possible” - planning to put it on the market in February.

The building was “not fit-for-purpose for a modern health service” and the three-acre hospital site, including an annexe, cost £672,000 a year to maintain and could be sold for £3.5m.

The PCT plans to consolidate services at Felixstowe General Hospital, including the addition of up to 14 inpatient beds, additional outpatient clinics and a £730,000 refurbishment project.

Overall savings in Felixstowe, aside from the cash pocketed from the sale of the Bartlet, will amount to £1.65m.

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