Petition not enough to save hospital

NEARLY 800 people signed an on-line petition calling for Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital to stay open but the government has today rejected their pleas.

NEARLY 800 people signed an on-line petition calling for Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital to stay open but the government has today rejected their pleas.

A response to the petition posted on the 10 Downing Street website said the decision to close the convalescent unit would not be reversed.

Today campaigners said they were “not surprised” by the reply but thanked the 793 people who had taken time to express support by adding their name to the web petition.

The Bartlet is set to close this month when the Felixstowe General, currently being refurbished at a cost of £1.7million to provide the seaside town with a modern community hospital, re-opens.

Campaigners though have long insisted both units are needed because they serve different needs.

The Bartlet was set up to provide convalescence care for those facing a long stay in hospital or recovering from major operations and served a huge area of Suffolk.

Most Read

The government's reply to the petition said: “Primary Care Trusts, with their broad perspective across hospital, community and primary care, are best placed to make decisions about the provision of local services in consultation with local people and their Strategic Health Authorities.

“The decision to close the Bartlet Hospital was agreed by the then Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt.

“Any decision to close a hospital or care home is not taken lightly.

“The decision to close the Bartlet followed a full period of consultation undertaken by Suffolk PCT, and is in line with the PCT's strategy to develop community based care.”

The PCT says improvements in health care means there will be no need for the type of convalescent care provided by the Bartlet in future.

People will be sent home from hospital to recover in their own surroundings, visited by members of a travelling care team each day.

Peter Mellor, of “save it” group Bartlet Care Limited, said the government's response was “not a surprise” but in the long-term the loss of the hospital would be regretted.

“There are many older and weaker members of the community who need the type of care the Bartlet provided and will continue to need that care,” he said.

Do you think the PCT will regret closing the Bartlet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk