Former GP slams heart attack proposals

A FORMER Ipswich GP today questioned controversial moves to transfer patients who suffer life-threatening heart attacks to specialist centres outside Suffolk.

A FORMER Ipswich GP today questioned controversial moves to transfer patients who suffer life-threatening heart attacks to specialist centres outside Suffolk.

Dr Tony Biddle, 79, practiced in the town until 1995 and remained involved with the medical world as a member of committees and organisations.

Now fully retired, he said he was concerned and angry that a new arrangement to send seriously ill patients from Suffolk to specialist angioplasty centres in Norwich or Cambridge could endanger as many lives as it would save.

The move was due to come into effect on June 1, but health bosses have ordered a review after an outcry from Suffolk patients, led by The Evening Star.

Dr Biddle, who now lives in Melton, near Woodbridge, said patients from more remote parts of the county could end up in transit for as long as to two hours, depending on the time of day and the level of traffic.

He said: “If you're going to travel from east Suffolk and get held up in traffic, you might be more than two hours before you get treatment and I don't think that's acceptable.

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“Suffolk should get the same centre as the other counties - I know it's going to cost money. But I don't think it will, this will be a final decision.”

He said all the other doctors, both active and retired, that he had spoken to about the matter agreed that the danger of traffic delay would reduce the “undoubted benefits” of new treatments.

Dr Biddle followed his county pathologist father into the medical field and between them they practiced in Ipswich for the best part of 90 years.

He said: “If I had still been on the hospital trust I would have had a lot to say (about the subject).

“I'm not sure why some of the doctors are not doing more about this. It makes me really angry because I think this is so important.

“We've had other services taken away from Ipswich Hospital but they're not emergency treatment.”

A spokesman for NHS East of England said the establishment of the Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention centres (PPCI) was “universally agreed” to be the best clinical care and would produce the best outcome for patients.

He said: “This is, clinically, the best treatment and will save 50 extra lives a year in the east of England.”

Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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