New efforts to rescue health centre

EFFORTS are being made to set up a top-level meeting to try to rescue the project for a £5 million one-stop health centre in Saxmundham.Three Suffolk Coastal council cabinet members have requested talks with local health chiefs to see if a way forward can be found – with the much-needed scheme in jeopardy because of lack of finance.

EFFORTS are being made to set up a top-level meeting to try to rescue the project for a £5 million one-stop health centre in Saxmundham.

Three Suffolk Coastal council cabinet members have requested talks with local health chiefs to see if a way forward can be found - with the much-needed scheme in jeopardy because of lack of finance.

Patricia O'Brien, Colin Hart and Chris Slemmings have written to Tony Robinson, chairman of the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust (PCT).

In the letter the councillors - responsible for health, rural issues and housing - said they wanted to explore any means by which they could assist help to move the project forward.


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The three are concerned that the scheme has not been selected for funding in budgets of the county's health organisations - missing out on a share of £1m government cash boost health in the east of Suffolk

The proposed building had already been given planning permission by the council and is set to include a birthing unit, NHS dentist, ambulance centre, social care for the elderly, a children's centre and creche.

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In the letter the councillors stated: "There is clearly strong public demand for this innovative and visionary project which meets a number of significant NHS targets, will help reduce deprivation in an area where income is among the poorest 20 per cent in the county (the worst in Suffolk Coastal), and will bring a broad range of high quality health and social care services to local people in both an expanding market town and in remote rural areas.

"This council has already played an enabling role and invested considerable resources in the planning process for all the desired new health facilities in Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Leiston (where discussions are ongoing) and not least Saxmundham.

"While together we have been successful with Woodbridge and Felixstowe, in respect of Saxmundham we would urge you not to let the opportunity that we have all worked to create to be lost and to seek every means possible for the PCT to meet its share of the costs of a project which it has hitherto supported in principle since its inception three years ago."

The letter has also been sent to the deputy prime minister and the health secretary.

n. What do you think of the new move? Write to Your Letters at Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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