Protestors gear up for roadshow

FRESH protests are being prepared for tomorrow as the health cuts consultation roadshow rolls into Felixstowe.Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer will chair the meeting at the Elizabeth Orwell Hotel, Hamilton Road, at 2pm when residents are invited to give their views on the Changing for the Better proposals.

FRESH protests are being prepared for tomorrow as the health cuts consultation roadshow rolls into Felixstowe.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer will chair the meeting at the Elizabeth Orwell Hotel, Hamilton Road, at 2pm when residents are invited to give their views on the Changing for the Better proposals.

The Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals action group is planning another peaceful protest outside the venue as it continues to highlight the public's concern over the Suffolk East Primary Care Trust's plans, especially the closure of the Bartlet Hospital.

The PCT says the Bartlet convalescent and rehabilitation unit is “not fit-for-purpose for a modern health service”.


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The three-acre hospital site, including an annexe, costs £672,000 a year to maintain and could be sold for £3.5million.

Services would then be concentrated at Felixstowe General Hospital, including the addition of up to 14 inpatient beds, additional outpatient clinics and a £730,000 refurbishment project.

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Overall savings in Felixstowe, aside from the cash pocketed from the sale of the Bartlet, will amount to £1.65m.

The Bartlet would also not be needed in future as the intention is to use modern treatment methods to be able to care for people better and send them home earlier, to be looked after by travelling community health teams.

PCTs' spokesman Jeremy Peters said the beds at Felixstowe General would be “step up” beds - used to give people care to try to avoid having to admit them to Ipswich Hospital.

He said: “If we can provide care and treatment at Felixstowe General which will avoid people being admitted to Ipswich Hospital it will be better for the patient and their family, and mean they can return home much quicker, which is also better for patients and where most prefer to be.”

Campaigners though are not happy with the plans and fear the new-style of caring is a backward step and believe convalescence in hospital, where a constant eye can be kept on patients, is much better.

Roy Gray, chairman of Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals action group, said: “We definitely do not want to see the Bartlet close - that would be a backward step as far as care is concerned.

“We need people to continue to make their views known and it is important that as many people as possible respond to the consultation.”

WEBLINK: www.saveourhospitals.felixstowecommunity.co.uk

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

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