Cancer battle is YOUR fight!

STAND up and fight for your hospital's cancer services - that was the battle cry today as an Evening Star campaign intensified.With petition forms being signed and messages of support flooding in, we want a groundswell of anger that will stop the plans in their tracks.

Rebecca Lefort

STAND up and fight for your hospital's cancer services - that was the battle cry today as an Evening Star campaign intensified.

With petition forms being signed and messages of support flooding in, we want a groundswell of anger that will stop the plans in their tracks.

Regional health bosses are under fire for wanting to scrap head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital, forcing patients to travel 50 miles to Norwich in future for life-saving operations.

Since The Evening Star launched a campaign against the proposals, scores of people have signed a petition online and sent in forms from the paper.

Today, Ipswich Hospital chief executive Andrew Reed said he too wanted to keep the first-class

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service at the hospital.

Mr Reed said: “I think we have first-rate specialists here who provide a very good service and the indications are that we have success rates with head and neck that are very good and certainly compare favourably with other hospital's results.

“We want to be in a position where we can continue to provide that service at Ipswich Hospital.

“Staff are concerned about the threat of losing the service - I have met with them and they are as one in wanting to continue to provide the service. They are very proud of their work and I am very proud of their work.”

Another group to join the protest is Trimley St Martin Parish Council, which has told Ipswich Hospital Cancer Services User Group it is firmly against the proposals to relocate the service.

Parish clerk Tracey Hunter said: “We are concerned that it would appear that there has been no prior informed public consultation in respect of this decision by Anglia Cancer Network.

“Parish councillors feel that it will cause unnecessary suffering and hardship to patients who are already being subject to the trauma of cancer and in addition, the loss of surgical procedures at Ipswich Hospital will also inevitably lead to the loss of expertise of the specialist surgeons at Ipswich.

“With the opening of the new Garret Anderson Centre in Ipswich, offering state of the art facilities, it would be a great injustice to lose such highly-qualified staff.

“With Ipswich Hospital having been the centre for head and neck surgery for such a wide catchment area for the last ten years and having such specialist staff and top of the range equipment, we feel it would be severely detrimental to the people of Suffolk, Essex and South Norfolk to lose these vital services.”

Roy Gray, chairman of Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals action group, said: “We are concerned about any cuts to services but axing this will lead to the loss of specialists and hit other services. What will be the next service to be centralised?”

Are you concerned about head and neck cancer services moving to Norwich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.ukSee Edblog at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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