Facebook campaign set up to save Lowestoft Hospital
PUBLISHED: 16:19 29 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:19 29 March 2013
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A campaign has been launched to save Lowestoft Hospital from closure.
Last week it was revealed that HealthEast – the new NHS clinical commissioning group serving Great Yarmouth and Waveney – was looking into future options for the building in Tennyson Road.
One option under consideration is to close the community hospital, which has served the town for 150 years, and to provide new, modern health facilities in north and south Lowestoft.
But with a public consultation on the proposals due to start in May, an online petition opposing the closure of Lowestoft Hospital has been launched.
A Facebook group has been set up along with a separate community page, and by Wednesday these had already attracted more than 1,200 members.
At the time of going to press, the online petition has been signed by 169 people.
The creators of the Facebook page, Richard Bilvo, Ivan Humble and John Durrant, said were “overwhelmed” by the backing they had received – and said it illustrated how strongly people felt about the hospital.
Mr Humble, 42, from Gunton, said: “Within the first 12 hours of setting the page up, we’d got 700 members so we started a fan page and that took off as well with more than 300 members.
“It just goes to show that community spirit is still there. There’s so much being lost in Lowestoft and as a community we are going to pull together and try and stop this outrageous plan – we need our hospital. Lowestoft has a growing population and this will cause a lot of problems if this goes ahead.”
This week, the chairman of the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital, Pat Rayner, said: “I was heartened to learn that a Save Lowestoft Hospital Facebook page has been set up and has attracted a good level of support. It is reminiscent of the vigorous, although sadly unsuccessful, campaign that the people of Lowestoft fought back in the 1960s when the accident and emergency department was to be moved from the hospital.
“I can see the need for the current hospital buildings in Tennyson Road to be upgraded and support the principle of providing some clinics and services – such as blood testing – at locations in both the north and south of the town. But I know that I speak on behalf of a lot of people when I say I’m very concerned with any suggestion that community hospital beds would disappear to be replaced by beds in care and nursing homes.
“If smaller towns such as Southwold, Beccles and Halesworth all have community hospital beds then Lowestoft, with a much larger population, surely must retain the same facilities.”
HealthEast says its plans were drawn up after meetings with clinicians and patient groups and that the hospital cannot alone cater for the needs of people in the town over the next 10-15 years.