Mystery over missing Bartlet millions

CAMPAIGNERS trying to find the “missing millions” they believe should keep the Bartlet Hospital running forever have been told records of what happened to the money have disappeared.

CAMPAIGNERS trying to find the “missing millions” they believe should keep the Bartlet Hospital running forever have been told records of what happened to the money have disappeared.

Dr John Bartlet left £250,000 in his will for the convalescent and rehabilitation unit to be built at Felixstowe as a gift - but it only cost around £100,000 to buy the land and construct the building.

That left about £150,000 which the High Court said should be set up in an endowment fund to keep the hospital open “indefinitely” and pay for all its running and maintenance costs. But the money has vanished.

The action group fighting to save the Bartlet - which health minister Patricia Hewitt has ruled must close - had hoped the money could provide a key tool in their fight to keep it.

But the Primary Care Trust said it did not know what had happened to the Bartlet Trust Fund, which had been set up by the Court of Chancery in 1923.

In a letter to the action group, Robert Bolas, deputy chief executive and director of nursing, said: “The finance department has looked into this matter and have been unable to find any records which clarify what actually happened.

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“You will appreciate that over recent years organisations have changed and people have moved on and it is difficult sometimes to track down all auditable records, which have moved from one organisation to another.

“We assume that between 1994 and 2000 the fund must have been put into the Felixstowe General at some point, or alternatively has been spent up.

“The current records that we have access to only go back as far as 2000 and since that date we believe there has only been one Felixstowe General Fund.”

Roy Gray, chairman of Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group (SOHAG), said: “It's a joke. Unbelievable. That is just so ridiculous - a trust fund set up by the courts and no-one knows what happened to it or where the money went!

“I think we would all accept the money is no longer there, but we want to know what happened to it and how it was spent, if it was spent. We will be asking further questions.”

Campaigners had previously calculated the compound interest since 1923 on the £150,000 would have meant the money had grown into millions.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk

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