Pledge over cash gift of £18,000

HEALTH chiefs today pledged that an £18,000 Evening Star readers-backed project for children at Felixstowe General Hospital will still go ahead.The scheme to create a special children-friendly waiting and treatment area has been on hold since spring when the Primary Care Trust announced it could not afford to carry out its plans to refurbish the hospital.

HEALTH chiefs today pledged that an £18,000 Evening Star readers-backed project for children at Felixstowe General Hospital will still go ahead.

The scheme to create a special children-friendly waiting and treatment area has been on hold since spring when the Primary Care Trust announced it could not afford to carry out its plans to refurbish the hospital.

Since then it has been carrying out consultation on whether to close the Bartlet Hospital, and only when this decision is made will final proposals for the General become clear.

But officials say they still want to put in place the children's area in the minor injuries unit (MIU) - a project which Star readers and supporters raised the money for during the Helping Our Children appeal last Christmas.

Suffolk East PCT head of communications Jeremy Peters said the project could not move forward until after the current consultation on health services was complete.

“We are committed to retaining a minor injuries unit in Felixstowe and to improving the quality of service,” he said.

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“But when we found we could not do the work we wanted to at the hospital because the Strategic Health Authority would not support it we knew we would have to stop and rethink.

“We were about to start on the children's area but there was no point in doing so until we knew exactly what was happening and that is the position we are still in.

“Once decisions have been made we can press ahead. It is simply because of the uncertainties and the consultation that we have had this delay.

“This new area will bring great benefits for children in a casualty environment and give them their own special area.”

Work will see redundant toilets removed to create a treatment room able to take a bed, sink and equipment, and provide a waiting area with murals, toys and furniture for children.

The MIU is used by more than 15,000 people every year - many of them from outside the immediate Felixstowe area.

The appeal was supported by many donations from the public and organisations such as the Port of Felixstowe, as well as funds from the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society's 977 special dividend number, the Evening Star carol service and Christmas tree.

The League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospitals has agreed to equip the new area.

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