First consultation over cancer move

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to move specialist cancer services from Ipswich to Norfolk have been discussed at the first public consultation meeting.Around 30 people gathered at the meeting, in Eye, yesterday with some challenging health bosses to justify the move of specialist head and neck cancer services from Ipswich Hospital to Norwich Hospital.

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to move specialist cancer services from Ipswich to Norfolk have been discussed at the first public consultation meeting.

Around 30 people gathered at the meeting, in Eye, yesterday with some challenging health bosses to justify the move of specialist head and neck cancer services from Ipswich Hospital to Norwich Hospital.

The Anglia Cancer Network (ACN), which recommends moving the service to comply with national guidelines, were represented by Director, Audrey Bradford.

National guidelines suggest that surgery should be carried out in centres which serve a population of approximately one million people and treat at least 100 new cases each year, which Ipswich Hospital currently does not.

Mrs Bradford told residents that cancer patients in Suffolk would benefit from having access to a pool of experts in an integrated team, performing complex procedures and that taking this approach would lead to better survival rates in the future.

She said: “Realistically, it's the only option that is feasible. It's not about money or the viability of Ipswich Hospital and we would prefer a split site working arrangement.”

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Last month The Evening Star launched a campaign to save the head and neck cancer services, urging health bosses to retain local services for local people.

More than one thousand people have already sent in petition forms and experts in the oral and maxillofacial department have warned that if the surgery is taken away it could have a devastating effect.

Ipswich Hospital oral and maxillofacial surgeon Huw Davies said he feared that other good work such as treating road accident victims could be under threat if experienced surgeons left because they were unable to carry out cancer surgery.

The consultation process will finish on June 6. A decision will then be made by the ACN Board in July, following an external analysis of the responses received at the consultations.

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

PANEL

A series of forums have been set up and more added to cope with the demand.

The forums are:

n. Tuesday April 22 from 2pm to 4pm, The Ballroom, Limes Hotel, Needham Market

n. Friday April 25 from 2pm to 4pm Robert Cross Hall, Corn Exchange, Ipswich

n. Monday April 28 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm: Conference Centre, Kesgrave War Memorial, Kesgrave

n. Tuesday May 6 from 2pm to 4pm Southgate Community Centre, Bury St Edmunds

n. Tuesday May 27 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm St Felix Church Hall, Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe.

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