Council bosses unite against heart plan

SUFFOLK'S corridors of power have today joined forces in the battle to keep heart attack care in the county.

Rebecca Lefort

SUFFOLK'S corridors of power have today joined forces in the battle to keep heart attack care in the county.

Traditionally known for their public clashes over political matters, Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, and Liz Harsant, the leader of Ipswich Borough Council, are standing together and have vowed to fight for the best possible health service for the county.

They have come together in an effort to stop plans which would see all emergency heart attack patients taken to Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex for treatment.

There has been no consultation over the plans and despite the East of England Specialised Commission Group insisting they would consult stakeholders, neither Suffolk County Council or Ipswich Borough Council were contacted.

The Evening Star is campaigning against the plan, which would mean patients would no longer be given life-saving clot-busting drugs and be taken to Ipswich Hospital's excellent emergency department, but would instead face a race for life in the back of an ambulance.

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In a joint statement Mr Pembroke and Mrs Harsant said: “We are deeply concerned by the decision not to treat heart attack victims in Suffolk and the impact this will have on our town and county.

“There has been absolutely no consultation on this issue - the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group insisted they would consult 'stakeholders' but we were not asked for our input.

“Given that this decision chances the health of people in our county on a lengthy journey along the A14, A12 or A140 this oversight is appalling and should, in itself, call the whole process into question.

“This is just the latest episode in the continual downgrading of Ipswich Hospital. We are now more concerned than ever that people in Ipswich and Suffolk are going to get a worse quality of care than people elsewhere in the country.

“We both pledge ourselves to fight for the best possible health service for Ipswich and for Suffolk.”

- Are you worried about emergency heart attack victims being treated outside Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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