News Update – December 2014


The recent closure of the inpatient beds at Patrick Stead Hospital has worried many local people. Halesworth Health, the local charity that aims to safeguard and develop health and care services in and around Halesworth, shares that concern. We are urging East Coast Community Healthcare, who are currently contracted by the NHS to run the hospital services, to address the staff shortages which have caused the problem and ensure that the service will re-open as promised next March. In the meantime our health and social care staff are working hard to support patients during this time.

We are aware that Patrick Stead Hospital is at risk in the long term, as it is housed in a Victorian building that is expensive to maintain and difficult to adapt. There is no provision in the NHS budget to upgrade or replace it. However, the need for extra care, especially for the elderly, is increasing steadily. Therefore we have been moving forward with our own plans to create a new health and care centre in Halesworth.

Working closely with the Campus Group, we propose that a suitable piece of land at Dairy Hill – adjacent to the current facilities at Cutlers Hill – should be bought and developed by an independent care provider. A number of organisations have been interested and we have recently chosen a preferred applicant.

The new centre would include flexible-use community beds for long term nursing care, for patients with dementia, respite care and those in need of palliative care. Crucially, this centre would have the equivalent of the current hospital inpatient beds, paid for by the NHS. This would allow patients who do not need to be in a District General Hospital, but who cannot be looked after at home, to be cared for close to home and to their families (who may themselves be very elderly). Patients can be cared for by their own GP’s, with families and friends able to visit, rather than making the 60-mile return journey to a District Hospital.

The wide range of existing outpatient services and the day care for blood or drug infusion, offered at Patrick Stead Hospital, would continue. Continuation of opportunities for training, and facilities for voluntary sector groups is vital.

At present Cutlers Hill Surgery has one of the lowest rates of admission to the District General Hospitals in the region, largely thanks to the range of services available to patients either locally or at home and to integrated services all on one site. Halesworth Health is working tirelessly to ensure that our excellent, but cost effective, health and social care services continue to be provided locally for Halesworth and the surrounding villages.

The NHS is just starting a public consultation about community services and beds in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area. We are responding to this and listening carefully to local views in order to maintain and improve the current services. If you have any questions or comments please visit our website at or write to us c/o Cutlers Hill Surgery, Bungay Road, Halesworth IP19 8SG.


* Halesworth Health, registered charity no. 1146637, was formed to safeguard and develop the health and social care services in and around Halesworth. Trustees are drawn from the League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital, the Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund and from Cutlers Hill Surgery. Trustees also include a local resident who is a retired solicitor and a Parish Councillor. The chair is Dr Richard Kell.