Uncertainty remains over Bartlet cash

HEALTH chiefs may only make around £1 million from the sale of Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital if it closes – because the rest of the cash may have to be used for medical services across the region.

HEALTH chiefs may only make around £1 million from the sale of Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital if it closes - because the rest of the cash may have to be used for medical services across the region.

Details are still not entirely clear about what will happen to all the proceeds from the sale of the convalescent and rehabilitation unit, and health bosses are pressing to be allowed to keep them.

The hospital - along with its annexe, which was part of the Bath Hotel burned down by suffragettes - is expected to sell for around £3.5 million for conversion to luxury apartments.

But Suffolk East Primary Care Trust director of finance Julian Herbert said the Strategic Health Authority had the option on sales of more than £1m to take back and pool some of the extra money made.

This could mean much of the profit from the sale being used to fund health services in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, rather than paying off the PCT's enormous debts.

However, Mr Herbert told a packed consultation meeting at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell on Friday that the PCT was trying to persuade the authority to let it keep the cash to reinvest into health services in Felixstowe.

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He said: "We want to put back another £800,000 into Felixstowe General Hospital to bring it back up to 21st century standards.

"We have put forward a case and the informal discussions so far have been very favourable on that but there is still a small level of risk on the pooling of these funds for the region."

The PCT is proposing to close the Bartlet because it is "not fit-for-purpose for a modern health service". The three-acre hospital site costs £672,000.

Services would then be concentrated at Felixstowe General Hospital, including the addition of up to 14 inpatient beds, additional outpatient clinics as part of a major refurbishment project.

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

The Bartlet would 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 cared for by travelling community health teams.

WEBLINK: www.saveourhospitals.felixstowecommunity.co.uk

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