Shake up of health service revealed

MORE out patient clinics could be transferred to Felixstowe General Hospital as part of a radical shake-up of health services at the resort, it was revealed today.

MORE out patient clinics could be transferred to Felixstowe General Hospital as part of a radical shake-up of health services at the resort, it was revealed today.

The changes are to be made in response to public demand following a wide-ranging six-month public consultation project to look at the future of the town's medical services.

Patients stressed the need to cut down on travelling to and from Ipswich for treatment - and for more clinics to be available at the town's two hospitals.

Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust chief executive Ana Selby said: "One of the things that came through strongly from the listening exercise, was the need for a wider range of outpatients services at Felixstowe General.

"We will therefore discuss this with Ipswich Hospital Trust, to identify in detail some of the services, on an outpatient basis, that can be transferred to Felixstowe.

"These will then be located next to the minor injuries unit at Felixstowe General.

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"Due to the strength of response on this issue, it has shaped our proposal, which, in initial form will be presented to the board in public tonight ."

PCT bosses will give an outline of the future of the resort's health services at the meeting at Kesgrave Community Centre, but will then have to do further work on the project to bring more detailed proposals to its next meeting in July.

Other key priorities expected to be tackled in the action plan - which will take three to five years to implement - will be the need to recruit more staff, especially those who could provide health and social care in people's homes to quicken the transfers from hospital, and make changes to cramped buildings.

Many people praised the resort's health services, particularly the work of the hospitals for their primary care, rehabilitation and respite care, X-ray centre, specialists clinics and consultants, and the minor injuries unit used by 12,000 people a year.

But the lay-out of the buildings has been labelled as "impractical" for modern health services and the minor injuries unit cramped, with modern equipment squeezed into tiny rooms.

The consultation project, called A Fresher Future for Felixstowe, included two public meetings, people sending in questionnaire replies, and 20 meetings with local groups and organisations - including the League of Friends of Felixstowe Hospitals, town council, and care support groups for patients and clinics.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal-pct.nhs.uk

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

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