Suffolk health services' bombshell

TIME is almost up for a swathe of health services today after NHS bosses recommended their closure.

By SARAH GILLETT, health reporter, sarah.gillett@eveningstar.co.uk>

TIME is almost up for a swathe of health services today after NHS bosses recommended their closure.

The Bartlet in Felixstowe, Bridge House in Ipswich, Old Fox House in Stowmarket and three mental health day hospitals in Saxmundham, Kesgrave and Stowmarket are among those that bosses say should be closed and sold off.

Other casualties will be the Hayward Day Hospital on the Ipswich Hospital site and Hartismere Hospital in Eye.

Their recommendations come after a five-month consultation period with the public and will help to shape the decision of the Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts' (PCTs) board when it meets on Wednesday to give the plans the final seal of approval.

Carole Taylor-Brown, chief executive of the Suffolk East PCTs said: “What is being proposed is different to what people are familiar with and we appreciate the passion that people have for their community hospitals such as The Bartlet and Hartismere hospitals.”

Most Read

PCT bosses say that the proposals will help to bring about a different type of care - providing more care closer to home through local care teams, rather than traditional bed based services.

They say that, following the consultation process, they have listened to public concern and will be increasing the changeover period to six months to ensure that things like community nursing teams have time to get established before closures take place.

Mrs Taylor- Brown said: “We need to do much more work in building our community's confidence in new services such as day treatment centres.”

If all the changes are approved by the PCTs' board on Wednesday the changeover period is due to begin on March 1.

The public board meeting of the Suffolk East PCTs, where the final decisions will be made, will take place at the Kesgrave War Memorial Community Centre at 1pm on Wednesday January 25.

WEBLINK: ww.suffolkeast.nhs.uk

What do you think of the recommendations? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Hayward Day Hospital

Approve and endorse the proposed closure of the Hayward Day hospital at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

The Hollies: Suffolk Mental Health Partnerships Trust (SMHPT) will undertake a tender exercise to see if the service can be provided by an alternative organisation. They will then cease to be responsible for it.

Old Fox House Clubhouse, Stowmarket: Closure by April 30, 2006

Bridge House Clubhouse, Ipswich: Closure by April 30, 2006

The Pines occupational therapy centre at St Clement's: Closure by March 31, 2006. Staff will be transferred to the community mental health team.

Day hospitals in East Suffolk: Closure of Kesgrave, Saxmundham and Violet Hill in Stowmarket, but retaining Minsmere House at Ipswich Hospital as a day facility with space for day treatment.

Hartismere Hospital: Closure and sale of the Hartismere hospital at an appropriate point in the changeover period. Removal of inpatient beds over a changeover period of approximately 6 months. Transfer community services to the Gilchrist centre.

Up to ten beds could be provided in the area by independent or social care sector.

The Bartlet Hospital and The Bartlet Annexe: Closure and sale of the Bartlet Hospital. All community services, including 16 step-up beds, to be provided at the General

Aldeburgh Hospital: Number of beds reduced to approximately 20 by September 2006.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

The new 'model of care' being introduced by the primary care trusts will focus on more community-based care, but instead of being in-patient care where people stay for a substantial period of time in a community hospital, it will be about trying to prevent the need to go in to hospital in the first place.

More care will be provided in people's homes and sites like the Felixstowe General and Aldeburgh Hospital will be developed to provide a range of specialist clinics - things like opthalmology, gynaecology and rheumatology - which will prevent people in more rural areas having to travel all the way to Ipswich.

A number of 'intermediate care' beds will be retained (for example at Bluebird Lodge in Ravenswood) - for people who are not well enough to look after themselves at home but do not have an urgent clinical need which needs to be treated at a hospital.

The trusts hope that these will be mostly 'step-up' beds - for people coming from the community, rather than 'step-down' beds for people coming out of hospital.

The changes will be made over a six month period, with services like the Bartlet being gradually run down at the same time as community services are built up. The PCTs are keen to stress that they are not starting from scratch. Care teams have been in place in the community for many months and visited tens of thousands of people.

The PCTs say they have a commitment “to respect the community gain and heritage issues regarding current estate and its potential sale.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter