Hospital needs more services for future

Supporters of a community hospital which will reopen next week are calling for an action plan for its future, including extra beds, an x-ray department and new clinics.

Supporters of a community hospital which will reopen next week are calling for an action plan for its future, including extra beds, an x-ray department and new clinics.

The Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth will reopen its beds on Monday after a three-month closure. And the League of Friends, which has built up a 2,600 strong support group, wants to see more services there. It is also offering to help pay for them.

Last night Waveney and Yarmouth primary care trust (PCT), which runs the hospital, said that it would look at the proposals "very carefully", but did not make any commitments.

League of Friends chairman Jean MacHeath said: "Now is the time to make plans to move the hospital forward. We want to stop just talking about it; we don't want yet another review. We want an action plan.

"We're pleased the PCT has kept its promise to reopen it and we're very optimistic that the hospital has a future. We believe it can be developed to benefit the whole south Waveney area.

"It is not an emotional desire to keep the hospital but a practical and pragmatic one. And we have money available to help."

Most Read

She said the main priority was for the hospital to operate with its capacity of 19 beds, rather than with 12 at present. The League of Friends has already bought new beds for the hospital at £1,000 each and is prepared to pay for seven more.

"It would be better value for money to have all 19, in that it would need the same staffing, and it could be done within the current regulations," she said.

The League of Friends has set aside £150,000 to support a new X-ray department, which would also serve Beccles and Southwold, and could be electronically linked to the James Paget University Hospital. And it wants to build on existing facilities on site like the phlebotomy unit (opened earlier this year with a £12,000 boost from the friends) and the Rayner Green Resource Centre.

It is also calling for a new centre for palliative care and support, more outreach clinics staffed by consultants, to reduce travelling time for patients, and for hospital staff to work in the community to help elderly patients with the most complex needs.

A PCT spokesman said yesterday: "The PCT is grateful for the views of the League of Friends and we will look into those views very carefully. There is an ongoing PCT-wide strategic review of all services and all these issues will be addressed as part of that review.

"We will consult thoroughly with all interested parties before reporting back to the board in the autumn."