DODDINGTON'S Iceni Ward should be opened as soon as possible according to a report by an independent government inspector. The ward, which provided in-patient care for elderly patients, was closed in 2006.
Now a report by Professor Alberti who visited the hospital on behalf of the National Clinical Advisory Team is urging Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), to re-open it as a matter of urgency.
And Citizen readers are being urged to add their voice to the call to re-open the ward.
The professor visited the hospital in September to look at services provided at Doddington and to see what was needed to improve healthcare in Fenland.
In a report, that has so far not been made fully public, Professor Alberti makes a series of recommendations – including extending the opening hours of the minor injuries unit (MIU) at Doddington.
It is currently open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, but Professor Alberti recommends extending the hours to 7pm or 8pm.
He would also like an investigation into the need outside these hours and he even suggests that nurses working on the re-opened ward could also deal with walk-in cases when the MIU is closed.
In addition he wants to see additional out-patient clinics held at Doddington to save people having to travel to Peterborough to see consultants.
And he wants more tests to be carried out at the Fenland hospital – although these will depend on what out-patient services are introduced at Doddington.
Professor Alberti does not want patients who see a consultant at Doddington having to travel elsewhere for tests.
The professor's report states the PCT has three choices when it comes to the Iceni Ward – leave it closed, re-open 10 beds in its former accommodation, or open the beds within a new facility on the site.
He rules out the first option and points out the second option could be done most rapidly.
And he goes on to say that even if the third option should be chosen then option two should go-ahead until the new building is available.
Leading Doddington Hospital campaigner and chairman of the Independent Patients' Public Involvement Forum (IPPIF) Reg Wenn has welcomed the professor's report.
He wants the people of Fenland to rise up in support of the professor's recommendations.
He described the professor as 'a man of the people' who understood the needs of a rural community like Fenland.
Mr Wenn said the professor had taken time to travel around the area to get a feel for Fenland during his visit to the hospital.
He said the PCT avoided the use of the name 'Iceni Ward' but said that was what the professor was referring to.
"I would like as many people as possible to write in support of the re-opening of the Iceni Ward and the development of services at Doddington Hospital.
"I would like to write them to the PCT, local councillors, the Fenland Citizen, the MP and anyone else they can think of.
"This is an ideal opportunity for local people to rally to the cause and insist on the healthcare they deserve being provided at Doddington," said Mr Wenn.