Health review gets underway

INDEPENDENT health experts have begun their investigation into controversial proposals for health services in west Suffolk.Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) plan to close Walnuttree and St Leonard's community hospitals in Sudbury and remove the provision of inpatient step-down beds.

INDEPENDENT health experts have begun their investigation into controversial proposals for health services in west Suffolk.

Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) plan to close Walnuttree and St Leonard's community hospitals in Sudbury and remove the provision of inpatient step-down beds.

Under the proposals the facilities will be replaced with locally commissioned intermediate care beds and a new ambulatory care facility and will be integrated with local GP provision. The proposals also cover changes to the intermediate model of care across West Suffolk.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) from the NHS is undertaking an independent review of the proposals at the request of the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson.

As part of the review, the IRP is calling for residents to come forward if they feel they have new information that was not submitted during the PCT's formal consultation process or believe that their voice has not been heard.

Dr Peter Barrett, chairman of the IRP, said: “The key focus of our review is the patient and the quality of care. During the review we will be seeing facilities first-hand and hearing directly from patients, clinicians, staff and interest groups. Local people with new evidence or who feel that their voice has not been heard should not hesitate to get in contact with us as we are keen to hear from all sides of the debate.”

Most Read

The IRP is undertaking its first visit to the area on Tuesday and over the coming weeks it will make a number of visits to meet and take evidence from the Primary Care Trust, NHS Trust, Local Authority representatives, patients, public and interest groups, as well as staff and individuals living and working in the area.

Anyone who feels they have further information to offer can contact the IRP review team through the dedicated review line on 01223 597512 or email irpreview@eoe.nhs.uk .

The IRP's final report with its recommendations will be forwarded to the Secretary of State for Health by the December 31. The final decision on changes to services in the area will be made by the Secretary of State for Health.