Cancer services consultation under way

A PUBLIC consultation is under way today into controversial proposals which would see some cancer services removed from Ipswich Hospital.The Anglia Cancer Network is recommending that patients needing surgery for head and neck cancer should travel to Norwich for treatment.

A PUBLIC consultation is under way today into controversial proposals which would see some cancer services removed from Ipswich Hospital.

The Anglia Cancer Network is recommending that patients needing surgery for head and neck cancer should travel to Norwich for treatment.

The changes would see Ipswich Hospital, which currently offers head and neck cancer surgery, providing initial diagnosis and follow-up care, but losing surgical expertise.

Prue Rush, spokeswoman for the hospital's public and patient involvement forum, said: “The problem is the money follows the patients, if patients are moved to Norwich to be cared for the money will follow them, and the specialists will follow them.

“Our patients will have to travel a long distance, perhaps every day for weeks on end, which isn't acceptable.

“It's going back to a time when if you had something seriously wrong you were sent to London.

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“It will be a loss of revenue to the hospital which they will have to make up somewhere else.”

Anglia Cancer Network has said the shake-up is needed to comply with national guidelines but the plans have sparked concerns among patient groups.

Audrey Bradford, director for the Anglia Cancer Network, said: “Our aim is to ensure that people in Suffolk have access to high quality cancer services.

“There is a challenge to provide services as locally as possible while ensuring we provide the best possible care for patients.”

National guidelines for head and neck cancer recommend that surgery is carried out in centres that serve a population of around one million people and treat at least 100 new cases each year, which Ipswich Hospital does not do.

A public consultation will now run until 4 June 2008.

Copies of the consultation document are available online at www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk/consultation.

There will also be forums in Aldeburgh, Stowmarket, Kesgrave and Bury St Edmunds.

Are you concerned about the proposed changes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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