Search for hospital's 'missing millions'

CAMPAIGNERS are today trying to find the “missing millions” which they believe should keep Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital open forever.

CAMPAIGNERS are today trying to find the “missing millions” which they believe should keep Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital open forever.

A key lobby group fighting for the hospital's survival today said Dr John Bartlet left £250,000 in his will for the convalescent and rehabilitation unit to be built at Felixstowe, but it only cost around £100,000 to buy the land and construct the building.

That left about £150,000 which the High Court ordered to be placed in an endowment fund to keep the hospital open “indefinitely” and pay for all its running and maintenance costs.

Now the campaigners want to know what happened to that investment fund and where the money is now.


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Mike Ninnmey, of the Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group (SOHAG), said: “This fund should be several million pounds by now.

“Back in 1926 when the Bartlet was opened, £150,000 would have been a huge sum of money, equivalent to millions today.

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“The Court of Chancery in London said the fund should be properly set up and managed and this would pay for the hospital to keep running 'indefinitely', which was the word the court used, in line with Dr Bartlet's wishes.

“I think we now have to ask where this money is and ask to see the accounts. It must be somewhere in the never never-land of NHS accounting.”

Mr Ninnmey said SOHAG would probably take legal advice over the matter.

“With this being a will and the High Court having set up how the money should be managed, it seems unlikely that it can have disappeared without record,” he said.

“We need to identify where that money is now and what the investment interest is being used for. It was intended by Dr Bartlet to be a gift to the community to be used for the benefit of people who needed to convalesce after operations or illness before they returned home.

“If the Bartlet closes it should be returned to the community for this use. The Bartlet is still suitable for its original purpose and it may be that with this money we could find a way to run it, even if the NHS does not want it.”

The cash-strapped Suffolk East Primary Care Trust decided to close the Bartlet as part of a reorganisation of services, which it said would improve care and save millions of pounds.

A spokesman for Suffolk East PCT said of the Bartlet investment fund: “This is interesting information. We would be very happy to explore the details, if the group would like to get in touch and share the particulars with us.”

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