No room at new hospital for foot service

ONE of Felixstowe's busiest health clinics has been suspended - after no room could be found for it in the resort's new community hospital.Hundreds of elderly patients use the chiropody services, which were based in the house next door to the hospital in Constable Road.

ONE of Felixstowe's busiest health clinics has been suspended - after no room could be found for it in the resort's new community hospital.

Hundreds of elderly patients use the chiropody services, which were based in the house next door to the hospital in Constable Road.

It had been planned to move the service into the main hospital as part of the £1.76 million refurbishment, but after design changes to the lay-out of the building no space could be found for it.

The annexe, its former home, is now being turned into a children's centre.

But the Suffolk Primary Care Trust said the feet service is not being axed.

John Such, chief operating officer, said: “We are suspending the podiatry service temporarily for two weeks while we find clinically suitable premises.

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“We will arrange for people with urgent needs to be seen through the minor injuries unit.

“We will contact patients directly affected by this.”

It is understood the PCT considered keeping open part of the Bartlet Hospital as a temporary measure, but the premises were not felt to be suitable.

It has also been in contact with doctors' surgeries in the town - but none have been able to provide the room needed for two or three staff and their equipment.

The service has previously been operated by two podiatrists or chiropodists, taking appointments in the clinic and going out to treat people in their homes, and supported by a foot care assistant.

Resident Richard Lord, who has previously voiced concern over the future of the clinic, was outraged premises needed to be found for the clinic after reassurances from the PCT two weeks ago.

Mr Lord of St Andrew's Road said: “I was shocked to hear yet again, that the clinic will not be sited at the Felixstowe Community Hospital.

“To hear the PCT is looking for premises within the town is a joke when they were redeveloping the hospital in the first place and this was a major clinic for all in the town.

“Surely, this unit should be housed with all other clinics at the hospital and maybe the clerical offices should find suitable premises within the town, as clerical work is done mainly on computers and it does not matter where they are situated.”

How important is the chiropody department - should it be in the hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk