People urged to use emergency dept amid fears for hospital future

FELIXSTOWE: Community leaders today voiced their fears for the future of Felixstowe’s hospital amid concerns too few people are using its minor injuries unit (MIU).

They feel people are being directed to Ipswich’s Riverside clinic instead and fear if the MIU comes under threat, that could put the community hospital in Constable Road at risk.

Health chiefs have stressed there are no plans for changes at the hospital -– but campaigners say they remain worried.

Roy Gray, chairman of the Save Our Felixstowe Hospital Action Group, said: “It has been a growing concern of ours because we know the MIU is not used enough – and quite often people are going to Ipswich to be treated when they could go to Felixstowe Community Hospital.

“Whether this is because people don’t realise the MIU is there, or don’t know what they can go there for, we are not sure.

“But one thing is for certain – we don’t want to lose the unit, especially with the town growing, a major port here and all the summer visitors.”

Former mayor Angel Goodwin, a member of the town council community services group, said: “We are very worried we might lose the MIU because of under-use.

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“We have had reports of people finding no one to help or they have been unable to help. We need people to keep records of their experiences and tell the council.”

County and town councillor Graham Newman said: “I have thought for a long time that these facilities are under severe threat.

“We need to bring it to the attention of our new MP.”

Deputy mayor Doreen Savage told councillors that her daughter went to the MIU for treatment but was turned away because her doctors’ surgery was not signed up for its patients to use the unit’s services.

“We must press upon patients and surgeries that they should use it because we don’t want to see it close because that would be awful,” she said.

Tracey Dowling, NHS Suffolk director of strategic commissioning, said: “There are no plans to close the Felixstowe Community Hospital or the minor injuries unit.

“In fact, both provide a vitally important range of health care services to the people of Felixstowe and will continue to do so.”

? What are your experiences of using the minor injuries unit at Felixstowe Community Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail