Call for PCT boss to consider position

A SENIOR health chief should consider standing down from her position today, a Suffolk MP has said.

Rebecca Lefort

A SENIOR health chief should consider standing down from her position today, a Suffolk MP has said.

John Gummer, who represents Suffolk Coastal, said he was “disgusted” that Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the Anglia Cancer Network (ACN) had apparently not taken into account survival rates when planning to move head and neck cancer surgery from Ipswich Hospital to Norwich.

He said he believed the failure to include the data showed either incompetence or a “blind obedience” to government guidelines and called on Carole Taylor-Brown, the chief executive of the PCT and chairwoman of the ACN, to consider her position.

During a meeting of Suffolk County Council's health scrutiny committee on Wednesday, it emerged that Ipswich Hospital had a better survival rate than the national

average, with 62 per cent of patients surviving for five years or more after undergoing head or neck cancer

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surgery, compared to 42pc for men and 52pc for women nationally.

Yet during the consultation into the plans the figures were not released and the ACN and PCT stressed the need to comply with national guidelines of treating 100 patients a year.

Mr Gummer said: “All my

constituents want to know is if they have a bigger chance of surviving at the unit in Ipswich or in Norwich. It is the only piece of information that really matters.

“Why did Carole Taylor-Brown not publish survival rates? Was it because of government guidelines or because of incompetence?

“Whichever it is I believe she must now understand that she must consider her position as chairwoman of the ACN and as chief executive of the PCT.

“It appear that either she has been doing what the government has told her and hasn't stood up for the people of Suffolk, or she has been incompetent in providing the figures.

“This is a very serious charge and I don't say it without a serious amount of care.

“In the end the job of the ACN is to look after the cancer needs of the local community and for the network not to know the figures for survival rates is a scandal.

“In my view it is a serious miscarriage of justice for the people of Suffolk if this decision stands - they couldn't point to a single person that has supported them.”

Carole Taylor-Brown said the

cancer network took advice from experienced clinicians to develop a preferred option.

She said: “I am confident that those clinicians took account of all the

relevant issues and data to achieve a compliant service in this preferred option.

“We need to remember that this is about developing an improved service, building on existing expertise and quality to ensure patients get the best possible outcomes.

“By joining up the excellence in both teams, as suggested in these proposals, it would create a more robust and comprehensive service, which will meet current and future patients' needs.”

Do you think Carole Taylor-Brown should resign? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk