Doctors boycott cancer meeting

DOCTORS at Ipswich Hospital have boycotted a head and neck cancer meeting because of fears the decision is being pushed through regardless, it emerged today.

DOCTORS at Ipswich Hospital have boycotted a head and neck cancer meeting because of fears the decision is being pushed through regardless, it emerged today.

Staff working in the hospital's oral and maxillofacial department had been due to meet with their counterparts from the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital at 10.30am yesterday.

The Ipswich staff thought the meeting was to talk about how the teams could work closer together, yet when they received an agenda for the meeting they feared the topic up for discussion was how the Anglia Cancer Network's proposed changes - moving all the head and neck caner surgery to Norwich - would be implemented.

Huw Davies, the consultant who leads Ipswich's oral and maxillofacial team, said he was outraged that health bosses were trying to push through the changes before they had been ratified.

He said: “It is incredible and I said I'm not going to the meeting.

“We should be having these meetings only once the decision has been taken.

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“Originally the clinicians were meeting to start talking about what could be done to make sure the number of patients travelling was kept to a minimum.

“Then we found out the Anglia Cancer Network was involved.

“I don't want to be seen going along to the meeting because they might say they have got the support of the surgeons.”

The agenda for the meeting which Mr Davies and some of his colleagues refused to attend included discussions about the process and timescale of implementation, the project team, key issues and next steps.

The news comes the day after the consultation into the plans to scrap head and neck cancer at Ipswich ended yesterday. Nearly 3,000 people have signed The Evening Star's petition to stop the move.

A spokesman for the ACN said: “It is entirely right for exploratory discussions to take place between clinicians and the network to look at how any changes might work. It would be helpful and informative in any process and is a good way of managing change.

“No decision has been made.”

Are you worried that the decision has already been made to take head and neck cancer surgery from Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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