Town councillors attack NHS cuts

TOWN councillors have slammed local NHS consultations as a waste of time and money.The councillors, at Framlingham, said they believed recent consultations over the future of community hospitals, the reconfiguration of the primary care trusts (PCTs) and the future of ambulance services were mere “window dressing” and that decisions had, in reality, already been made.

By David Green

TOWN councillors have slammed local NHS consultations as a waste of time and money.

The councillors, at Framlingham, said they believed recent consultations over the future of community hospitals, the reconfiguration of the primary care trusts (PCTs) and the future of ambulance services were mere “window dressing” and that decisions had, in reality, already been made.

The Suffolk East PCTs are proposing to close or introduce cutbacks at several community hospitals although Suffolk's health scrutiny committee has referred the plans to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.


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The Strategic Health Authority is planning to reconfigure the PCTs while changes are also being proposed in ambulance services.

Framlingham Town Council has decided to write a “strongly worded” letter to the PCTs criticising the consultation over the future of community hospitals.

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One town councillor, Dr Ian Baird, said: “The decision had already been made. It was an expensive and time-consuming exercise that was dictation, not consultation.”

Dr Baird said the exercise had been frustrating for consultees because “anything you said was ignored”.

“It was the next best thing to insulting us – just not consultation at all,” he added.

Another councillor, Kevin Coe, said: “The decision had already been signed, sealed and delivered – it was a waste of time.”

A Suffolk East PCTs spokesman said: “Clearly this is a viewpoint that we do not share. The consultation process was genuine and independently validated.

“We were very grateful for the responses we received. We listened to what people said and made significant changes to our proposals.”

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