Cancer services to stay in town

PEOPLE power has won the day in a bid to keep vital cancer services in Ipswich, it was revealed today.Health bosses have abandoned plans to create a number of new cancer 'super-centres' across Suffolk and Essex, which would have meant some cancer services moving out of Ipswich into Colchester or Chelmsford.

PEOPLE power has won the day in a bid to keep vital cancer services in Ipswich, it was revealed today.

Health bosses have abandoned plans to create a number of new cancer 'super-centres' across Suffolk and Essex, which would have meant some cancer services moving out of Ipswich into Colchester or Chelmsford.

A period of public consultation has shown the strength of opposition to the plans and it has now been agreed to leave things as they are - for the time being.

Under proposals made by the Mid Anglia Cancer Network, which serves parts of Suffolk and Essex, the head and neck cancer services at Ipswich would have been moved to Chelmsford, while urology (bladder and prostate) cancer services would have gone to Colchester.

However, as a result of the consultation health bosses have realised the area covered by the cancer network needs to be re-designed and that working across Suffolk and Essex is not the most suitable way of doing things.

During the consultation period 103 written responses were received and 80 people attended three open discussion meetings.

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Over two-thirds (68) of the written responses were from Suffolk residents and just over one third (35) were from Essex residents.

Tony Jewell, clinical director and director of public health at Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority, said: "We will be proposing new arrangements for cancer networks across Anglia as an outcome of this work."

The east Suffolk PCTs and Ipswich Hospital will now join a new cancer network, which has yet to be agreed.

Proposals for exactly which areas should be contained in the new network will be drawn up by the end of September.

Some services are already shared by Essex and Suffolk, such as the gynaecology centre at Ipswich and the upper gastro-intestinal centre at Chelmsford. These arrangements will continue for the time being.

What do you think about the decision? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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