Protest for Bartlet's birthday

EIGHTY years since the Bartlet Hospital opened its doors to welcome its first patients, campaigners will march along Felixstowe's promenade to protest afresh over moves to close it forever.

EIGHTY years since the Bartlet Hospital opened its doors to welcome its first patients, campaigners will march along Felixstowe's promenade to protest afresh over moves to close it forever.

On Sunday supporters will mark the 80th anniversary of the opening by letting health chiefs know how precious the convalescent and rehabilitation unit is - and send a clear message that the fight to save it is still in full flow.

The march will set off from the Herman de Stern, a former convalescent hospital which was also closed, at 2.45pm and walk along the prom past the site of another former convalescent home to The Hut, the former Red Cross Centre, below the Bartlet.

There will then be refreshments served and people will be able to see an exhibition of the Bartlet's history.

People are being encouraged to bring banners and placards for the march and it is hoped hundreds will turn out.

Mike Ninnmey , of the Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group (SOHAG), said: “We are no nearer to finding out what health secretary Patricia Hewitt will do - will she close the Bartlet or save it?

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“So while we wait we must keep on letting our views be known and keep asking for the Primary Care Trust's decision to be reversed.

“Not only will it be a grave mistake if the Bartlet is closed, but it will go firmly against the wishes of the man who had it built.

“Dr Bartlet's view about convalescent care is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago - and we do not believe that ideas for alternative services will be as effective at all.”

The PCT wants to replace the care with travelling teams of nurses who will look after people in their homes.

SOHAG chairman Roy Gray hoped the march would be well supported.

“We also want to celebrate the Bartlet and the wonderful service it has provided over many years,” he said.

The Bartlet on Bath Hill was opened in 1926 after Dr John Bartlet left £250,000 in his will for purchase of land and construction of the hospital, leaving it to the trustees of his will to decide the details.

What do you think of plans to close the Bartlet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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