Anger over move to cut duty doctors at hospital
FELIXSTOWE: Health campaigners have labelled moves to remove doctors on duty at Felixstowe’s hospital as “a backwards step” and fear it will be a reduction in service for patients.
At weekends at present, doctors are available at the community hospital in Constable Road for set periods, but when Harmoni HS Ltd takes over the running of the doctors on call service this arrangement will cease.
Instead, people will have to make appointments to meet the doctors at the hospital.
Roy Gray, chairman of the Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group, said: “I don’t think this is very satisfactory at all – in fact, it’s a backwards step and we are disappointed.
“At present at weekends doctors are at the hospital for several hours and if you visit the minor injuries unit at certain times with an injury or illness worry, a doctor can often see you immediately.
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“Now there will be longer waits for a doctor or people may think it better to go to Ipswich to be seen.
“Not everyone has transport and can do that.
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“We are a growing town with proposals on the table to build even more homes in the future, with a major port, plus tens of thousands of visitors each year.
“We should have doctors available to treat people here rather than GPs and patients going up and down the A14.”
Health officials say as there is currently no guarantee there will be a doctor available when a person arrives at the MIU, and there will be no reduction in service. “There will always be a doctor within 30 minutes’ driving time and the people working at the MIU, highly-skilled nurse practitioners, give a fantastic service, can deal with many situations and have access to immediate advice from a doctor,” said an NHS Suffolk spokesman.
“The system of people phoning the NHS to get advice, then making an arrangement to meet a doctor or have a home visit will continue as now.”
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