Friends rally to save hospital

PUBLISHED: 13:41 25 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

A rallying cry to save Dereham Hospital went out at an annual fundraising event on Saturday.

A rallying cry to save Dereham Hospital went out at an annual fundraising event on Saturday.

Chairman of the Friends of Dereham Hospital Richard Felgate urged the public to flood Southern Norfolk Primary Care Trust with letters and e-mails objecting to proposals to turn the hospital into a health village.

Earlier this month the trust supported the plans in the face of staunch opposition from the friends, town council and members of the public.

The redesigned site would offer a greater range of health services but hospital care would be provided within a nursing home on the site with a minimum of 20-beds set aside, less than the existing 41.

Speaking at the friends annual fete Mr Felgate said the town must fight to keep the hospital.

He said: “We should continue to press for what the town wants, not what the lawyers and the civil servants think we should have.

“We always have the right to appeal to the trust and if they say 'Tough we are going ahead with it' there is always the Department of Health.

“It is up o the people of Dereham to make sure that what they want is what they get and to continue writing and e-mailing the trust to get their views across.”

The trust says it will be able to request more beds from the nursing home depending on demand, allowing for a far more flexible, cost-effective service.

Mr Felgate questioned how the nursing home would be able to remove paying customers from beds to be used for hospital care in times of high-demand such as winter.

The redesigned site would include a nursing home, a replacement GP surgery for the Theatre Royal practice, care assisted housing, a community clinic, an out of hours service and therapy and rehabilitation services

t Warm weather at the annual fete saw a high turnout from visitors who enjoyed chatting to paramedics, a tour of an ambulance, browsing the stalls and the Harry Potter-themed performance from the town's Busybodies Stage School. Money raised from the day and the friends raffle will pay for equipment for midwives based at the hospital.

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