Health cutbacks revealed in Suffolk
THE health service in Suffolk is starting to buckle under the financial pressure after plans were revealed for major cutbacks.More than 100 hospital beds and other vital care services look certain to be slashed across west Suffolk to reduce a spiralling £19m mountain of debt.
THE health service in Suffolk is starting to buckle under the financial pressure after plans were revealed for major cutbacks.
More than 100 hospital beds and other vital care services look certain to be slashed across west Suffolk to reduce a spiralling £19m mountain of debt.
And in east Suffolk, there is a major review of community hospitals in Felixstowe – with beds set to be cut at the Bartlet Hospital.
Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust (PCT) is also axing a minor injuries unit and cutting beds at Aldeburgh Hospital.
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MPs, civic leaders, union officials and health care staff reacted furiously after bosses at the Suffolk West PCT announced a controversial package of proposals to clear its debts by 2007.
The proposed financial recovery plan includes cutting 68 beds at Sudbury's Walnuttree Hospital and 16 beds at Newmarket Hospital.
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A number of beds will also be lost at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.
Although occupational therapy and x-ray services will be retained at Newmarket a question mark hangs over day service and outpatient facilities at Walnuttree and St Leonard's hospitals in Sudbury.
The situation would leave both Sudbury and Newmarket without any hospital beds, which in turn would increase the pressures at the West Suffolk Hospital.
It is feared the cuts could put lives at risk and patients will no longer receive a high quality of care.
Gill Mallik, Unison's eastern region national executive member, said: "This is a disgraceful plan, it is massive blow for the people of west Suffolk and devastating for the staff who will lose their jobs.
"The trust has received a lot of money from the Government and it doesn't make sense why there is this much debt."
The PCT's chief executive Mike Stonard said: "We are reviewing all expenditure and services. Nothing is excluded. We recognise the recommendations may not sit comfortably with our staff, patients and members of the public.
"The PCT is spending more money than it receives and is building up debts and we have got to get the situation back under control. Only then will we be able to plan and provide services with certainty."