May 20 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Thursday, October 11, 2012
The former mayor of a north Suffolk town has called for a health village to be created, which would keep vital health and care home services within the town.
Felix Williams, former mayor of Eye, was speaking after care provider Care UK, which is working with Suffolk County Council, revealed plans to replace 16 residential homes and eight community wellbeing centres with 10 purpose-built homes and wellbeing centres, which will include Paddock House care home in Eye.
As yet, no site has been identified for the new Eye home and Mr Williams said he hoped a facility could be provided within the town, possibly as part of a “health village” including a community hospital and doctors surgery at the Hartismere Hospital site in Castleton Way.
He added: “The key thing for me is the continued care for current residents and for future residents from our area. I would be strongly against any moves to move the service out of Eye.
“We are the ideal geographical location for services – operating as the main service centre in a large rural area. Everything must be done to make the transition a smooth one and ultimately the idea of a ‘health village’ – community hospital, GP surgery and residential home – on the Hartismere site makes a lot of sense.”
He hoped the county council could then sell off the Paddock House land for a sensitive development in the town’s conservation area.
The county council will decide on October 16 whether to invest £60m in the new homes, which could also replace care homes in Beccles, Lowestoft, Mildenhall and Bury St Edmunds.
Statistics show the number of older people in Suffolk aged 75 and over is expected to increase by 85pc by 2030 and the number of older people with dementia is expected to increase by 100pc in the same period.
All permanent members of staff at the existing homes will transfer to Care UK.
The new homes are designed to provide bigger rooms.