MP steps up Hartismere Hospital campaign

A SUFFOLK MP has stepped up his campaign to reopen inpatient beds at Hartismere Hospital.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, is calling for the community hospital in Eye to be restored to its former glory following the closure of its beds three years ago and has raised the issue with the new health secretary.

NHS Suffolk, the county’s primary care trust, has plans to redevelop the site to create a 21st Century health care centre. There are currently community and outpatient services being run from the hospital, including maternity services.

During a session in Parliament, Dr Poulter told Andrew Lansley, secretary of state for health, that community hospitals play a valuable role in the local community, and that the closure of Hartismere also acts as “proof of the deficiencies of PCTs.”

The move to close Hartismere’s beds following a review of services occurred despite some 7,000 public responses against it.

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Mr Lansley agreed with Dr Poulter, saying it was important for healthcare to be responsive to the needs of local communities and that “we should better value community hospitals”.

He added that new government plans to hand power to local GPs and communities will provide an opportunity for hospitals such as Hartismere to be reopened, and for healthcare under the control of local GPs to be responsive to the needs of local people.

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The �6million redevelopment plans for the hospital site were unveiled in 2007. The following year beds for people who needed to avoid a trip to hospital were put in place in a residential home in Eye, Paddock House.

Under the plans, there would be a new health centre built on the site as well as a nursing home, sheltered homes and a housing development.

Approval is still being sought for the plans by the East of England’s Strategic Health Authority. The plan was to advertise for potential developers to come forward to build on the site.

An NHS Suffolk spokesman said: “We are carrying on with the plans for the Hartismere Hospital site. We are committed to providing high-quality services from that site.”

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