D-Day for hospital cancer surgery

AFTER months of campaigning, today could be the turning point in the battle to retain head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich hospital.The Health Scrutiny Committee is to re-examine the decision to move the specialist surgery to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital more than 45 miles away from Heath Road.

AFTER months of campaigning, today could be the turning point in the battle to retain head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich hospital.

The Health Scrutiny Committee is to re-examine the decision to move the specialist surgery to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital more than 45 miles away from Heath Road.

This will be the first time the closure can be officially debated among those with a direct connection with the public of the county - the committee is made up of elected representatives of the people of Suffolk.

It is the first time the closure is to be debated by people who are accountable to the electorate - people who know that if they don't do what their voters want they could lose their council seats at the next election.

The committee does not have the power to save head and neck surgery at Ipswich, but it can ask the Secretary of State for Health to re-examine the decision to move cancer surgery.

It can express the deep disquiet at the decision that is expressed by county MPs from across the political spectrum - it is unusual for John Gummer and Chris Mole to agree, but both believe the case for moving head and neck surgery to Norwich has not been made.

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The committee should not be looking at this issue as a political matter, but it must look at what is in the best interests of the people of Suffolk.

And it is clear that it is in the best interests of Suffolk people that head and neck cancer surgery stays in Ipswich.

CONOR Jones is a very fortunate teenager.

When he broke four bones in his spine falling out of a tree earlier this summer, there were very real fears that he would be injured for life - that he would never walk again.

However since then he has amazed doctors with his resilience and the way he has recovered - he was expected to be in hospital until Christmas but is now preparing to return to school next week.

The 15-year-old is likely to suffer some lasting damage - a lack of feeling in his feet and part of his legs look set to end his dreams of a career in the army - but the long-term outlook is much better than he and his family dared hope two months ago.

Conor suffered his injuries falling from a tree. Climbing trees is something youngsters have done for generations.

This accident will ring alarm bells for parents concerned that their youngsters might hurt themselves while enjoying a traditional pastime.

However it is worth remembering that while accidents like Conor's are very nasty, they are also very rare - and for the vast majority of children climbing trees results in nothing worse than a grazed knee.

WHEN Jim Magilton returns to Ipswich from his spell commentating on the Northern Ireland football team's attempts to qualify for the 2010 world cup, he will need to take a long hard look at what is happening at the day job.

Ipswich Town now has a very large squad - the kind of squad that former players from different eras find hard to understand.

Yet the results on the pitch have so far been very disappointing this season - and there has been a distinct lack of stability in the team.

Jim says today he is not a naturally patient man. Unless he gets a grip on his squad over the next few weeks, he could find that the patience of the supporters wears even thinner.