Expert to help fight to save hospital

By Benedict O'ConnorCAMPAIGNERS trying to save one of Suffolk's beleaguered hospitals are calling in a leading health expert to fight their case.The Walnuttree Hospital Action Committee is enlisting a professional community hospitals expert to try to persuade cash-strapped health bosses to save Sudbury's two hospitals, the Walnuttree and St Leonard's.

By Benedict O'Connor

CAMPAIGNERS trying to save one of Suffolk's beleaguered hospitals are calling in a leading health expert to fight their case.

The Walnuttree Hospital Action Committee is enlisting a professional community hospitals expert to try to persuade cash-strapped health bosses to save Sudbury's two hospitals, the Walnuttree and St Leonard's.

The health service professional, who has not been named, is being lined up by the committee to provide an independent view of the crisis facing Sudbury's hospitals.

Committee member Michael Mitchell said he was confident the independent expert would support its case.

“The primary care trust are going to town on this and they will come at us with different laws and different facts and we need to be able to answer them, we need to be able to fight fire with fire.”

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Colin Spence, committee chairman, added: “The consultant came to speak to the action committee and we feel we have got to put the very best case forward in response to the primary care trust we can on behalf of the local community.

“There is considerable expertise within the committee, but we felt having an independent view would help us support the case we want to put forward for these facilities to be retained.”

Mike Stonard, chief executive of Suffolk West Primary Care Trust, welcomed the move and said he would encourage everyone to become involved in the consultation process on the future of health services in Suffolk.

“I would very much welcome it if it helps to contribute to an informed and constructive debate and helps engage people in considering the issues surrounding the proposed model of care,” he said.

A huge consultation exercise on the proposed modernisation of health services in west Suffolk was launched on Monday.

Under the proposed changes, hundreds of jobs could be lost across the health sector as the primary care trust and West Suffolk Hospitals Trust tries to rein in debts exceeding £40 million.

The committee has launched a fighting fund to help save the Sudbury hospitals and has two tickets from Ipswich Town for any home game this season which it plans to auction later in the year.

benedict.o'connor@eadt.co.uk

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