Hospital campaigners take to the streets

DESPITE the wet and miserable weather campaigners turned out in force to mark the 80th birthday of an under-threat hospital and protest at plans to close it forever.

DESPITE the wet and miserable weather campaigners turned out in force to mark the 80th birthday of an under-threat hospital and protest at plans to close it forever.

More than 50 people waving banners and placards braved the blustery conditions along Felixstowe's seafront to take part in a march from the Herman de Stern building to the Bartlet Hospital on Sunday.

The procession, which coincided with the building's 80th anniversary, was held as a show of defiance to health bosses and to let them know how important the convalescent and rehabilitation unit is to the town.

Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) wants to close and sell the hospital to pave the way for a new model of care and help alleviate some of its multi-million pound debt.


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Roy Gray, chairman of Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group (SOHAG), said: “All things considered it went very well.

“We were hoping for a few more people but given the weather and the fact it was very windy and wet I think we did as well as could be expected.

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“The important thing was to celebrate Dr Bartlet and the 80 years service the hospital has given the people of Felixstowe.

“We want to show the PCT, the Strategic Health Authority and the government that people in this town still want the hospital to remain open.

“It was originally opened for the residents of Felixstowe and east Suffolk and I see no reason why that should change.”

The campaigners walked along the prom to The Hut, the former Red Cross Centre, below the Bartlet where they were able to have refreshments and see a display on the hospital's history.

There was also a chance to meet former staff who worked at the hospital including doctors, nurses and matrons.

The Bartlet, which just days ago was granted Grade II listed status from English Heritage, was opened by Lord Woodbridge on May 20 1926.

Dr John Bartlet left £250,000 in his will for purchase of land and construction of the hospital for the purpose of providing an institution where the patients of the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital could complete their cure.

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