Margaret comes back into battle

A CAMPAIGNER who fought to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital - and won - is today trying to save it again.Margaret Learmouth is a former nurse, leading light of the 1998 successful campaign to save The Bartlet and now has even more reasons to fight to keep it.

A CAMPAIGNER who fought to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital - and won - is today trying to save it again.

Margaret Learmouth is a former nurse, leading light of the 1998 successful campaign to save The Bartlet and now has even more reasons to fight to keep it. Her mother Vie Sparrow, 90, died in the rehabilitation and convalescent unit last month and her mum's partner Jack Ryan is still an in-patient.

She said the couple could not look after themselves at home after they fell ill - and the care-at-home teams were not available and the system did not work.

Now Mrs Learmouth is urging the people of Suffolk to make their voices heard before it is too late and the Bartlet is lost forever.


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“The service given by the staff at the Bartlet is more than perfect and should be built on, not discarded,” said Mrs Learmouth, a former senior member of the nursing team at Felixstowe and one of the campaign leaders in 1998 when the Bartlet was faced with closure.

“Unfortunately, my mother died at the hospital but the staff gave so much care and love and support to her and us as a family.

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“We could not have cared for our mum at home with the problems she had but she would have used a bed at Ipswich hospital that might have been needed by someone younger and in need of acute nursing.

“Ipswich hospital is wonderful but they need the support of the Bartlet to enable their staff to move on and cure more patients while the Bartlet is rehabilitating those who are not quite ready for home.

“My step-father is still a patient at the Bartlet. He had a heart attack and after being released from Ipswich hospital is recovering at the Bartlet with the support and care he requires. But he is not blocking a bed needed for an acute patient.

“What I want to know is what is going to happen to other patients in a similar position in future.

“Not everyone is well enough to go home to exist on their own with a carer or nurse popping in a couple of times a day - some will have to stay in hospital and block beds.”

When her parents were home together and struggling with their illnesses, the family asked the intermediate care team - the home care service - to help but they could not come for four days. They then called the rapid response team, which could not visit for more than 24 hours.

Mrs Sparrow then fell out of bed and Mr Ryan dropped a tray and could not help her.

“We were absolutely desperate and could not have carried on without places being available for them at the Bartlet,” she said.

The Evening Star is fighting against proposals to cut health services in Suffolk, which include closing community hospitals and cutting back mental health services.

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

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