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Thousands join to save the General

PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:57 02 March 2010

OUR voice will be heard!

That was the message from the people of Suffolk today after it was revealed that in just four days more than 2,000 have signed the Evening Star's petition calling for Felixstowe General Hospital to be saved.

OUR voice will be heard!

That was the message from the people of Suffolk today after it was revealed that in just four days more than 2,000 have signed the Evening Star's petition calling for Felixstowe General Hospital to be saved.

Not only are residents of the seaside town and its nearby villages supporting the campaign to keep the vital and much-loved unit, but also people from Ipswich and all over east Suffolk.

They have not only been shocked the growing resort could lose its hospital – but they know it is a symptom of the epidemic of financial problems facing health bosses and other services could also face cuts.

Getting rid of the General in Constable Road will not save £18 million or remove the under-lying £21m debt the Primary Care Trusts have to deal with.

Petition co-ordinator Ian Heeley said: "The support for the campaign has been overwhelming so far – people are very, very angry that anyone could even suggest closing that hospital.

"We have already gathered more than 2,000 signatures and that number is going to grow and grow.

"We need to let the health authorities see how strongly people feel about this issue. Felixstowe General should be improved and expanded – just as the PCT has been suggesting – not closed."

Mr Heeley said a town the size of Felixstowe needed a hospital of its own.

He said: "The port is going to grow even bigger, more houses are planned. What happens if there is an accident or incident and the A14 is blocked? The General could handle and should be able to handle it.

"Felixstowe needs this facility. We shouldn't have to keep travelling to Ipswich every time we need treatment for something."

Petition forms have been placed in all Felixstowe's doctor's surgeries and chemists, as well as a number of shops and other outlets. They can also be signed at the AdCenta in Solar.

Alternatively, people can sign the petition form on this page and send it to the Evening Star offices at 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.

On Saturday from 9.30am to midday there will be an opportunity to sign the petition at a stand on The Triangle, Hamilton Road.

PCT Bosses have said no decisions have yet been made on the future of Felixstowe General but closing the hospital is "one of a long list of options".

The aim would then be to provide the same services but in a different and more efficient way – without the building, which would be sold for housing to raise a large sum to help pay off the debts.

The Suffolk Coastal PCT Board will meet to discuss the issue on June 29 at Cavendish Community Church, Grange Farm Avenue, Felixstowe, at 9.30am.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.


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