Campaigners wait for Johnson verdict

CAMPAIGNERS were today waiting to see if Health Secretary Alan Johnson would “call in” the decision not to set up a heart attack centre in Suffolk and order a rethink.

Richard Cornwell

CAMPAIGNERS were today waiting to see if Health Secretary Alan Johnson would “call in” the decision not to set up a heart attack centre in Suffolk and order a rethink.

A copy of last night's Evening Star - featuring an open letter to Mr Johnson on the issue and urging him to intervene - has been hand delivered to his office in London.

The letter outlined the changes set to take place on June 1 and which in future will mean emergency heart attack patients from Suffolk having to be taken by ambulance to Papworth, Norwich or Basildon.

Mr Johnson was told this could put patients at serious risk because of the uncertainty of travel times on the busy and often congested A12, A14 and A140 - and the poor links from rural communities to those roads.

Ambulance staff will also not be allowed to give clot busting drugs to patients.

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Mr Johnson's staff at the Department for Health at Richmond House in Whitehall said they would ensure the Evening Star was on his desk for when he returned.

The minister is currently in Geneva at a meeting of the World Health Organisation focusing on swine flu.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “We are aware of the situation but the issue of heart attack care is being handled by strategic health authorities in the regions.

“It is currently a matter for them to comment on.”

She said there were no plans for the matter to be reviewed at government level at present.

Details of the Evening Star's campaign and the concern in Suffolk would be passed on to Mr Johnson.

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