Minor injuries unit to be axed early

OPPONENTS to the closure of a community hospital have said they are disappointed after learning its night-time emergency treatment will end sooner than expected.

OPPONENTS to the closure of a community hospital have said they are disappointed after learning its night-time emergency treatment will end sooner than expected.

The minor injury unit (MIU) at the Bartlet Hospital in Felixstowe will no longer be available from this Friday, health bosses announced yesterday.

The facility will still operate at Felixstowe Hospital between 7am and 8.30pm but anyone needing minor emergency treatment at night will have to go to Ipswich or call an ambulance.

Campaigners have been expecting the unit to close but had high hopes that it would remain open while the Bartlet's future is undecided.

But a spokeswoman for Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) said because of concerns for maintaining safe levels of patient care, in the light of several qualified staff resigning from the service, a reluctant decision has been made to close the unit earlier than planned.

Last night Peter Mellor, campaigner for Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals said: “It's a sad day because for a town as big as Felixstowe we really want to be organising a 24 hour MIU if at all possible.

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“I know the number of people that use the unit at the Bartlet at night has been very small but what we don't know is how many people from Felixstowe went to Ipswich Hospital because they thought they would get better care or didn't realise the facilities were available nearer to home.

“It's a real shame because it was an important part of the hospital service and for those that will now have to travel to Ipswich at night it is bad news.”

Suffolk East PCTs claim a survey of people using the minor injury unit at the Bartlet during November and December last year showed that less than seven people a week used the service from midnight to 7am.

The future of the Barlet remains unclear. The cash-strapped PCTs agreed to close and sell the hospital earlier this year, but the Government is currently reviewing the decision.

n For people who need to use the minor injury after 8.30pm the advice is to ring NHS Direct on 0845 46 47, their own GP surgery so they can be put through to the out of hours service, go to the Riverside Clinic Minor Injury Unit, in Ipswich, which is opening on April 1, or visit the accident and emergency department at Ipswich Hospital.

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