Have the dice been loaded?

FROM the very start of the consultation process about moving head and neck cancer surgery to Norwich, it has seemed as if the dice were loaded against those campaigning against the move.

FROM the very start of the consultation process about moving head and neck cancer surgery to Norwich, it has seemed as if the dice were loaded against those campaigning against the move.

Now there is further evidence that the authorities were determined to make life as difficult as possible for those opposing the move by revealing it is refusing to pay the expenses of those who disagree with the decision.

While those pressing for the transfer of cancer surgery services to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital 45 miles away are getting their costs repaid by the Anglia Cancer Network (ACN), those who warn that such a move would not be in the interest of patients in Suffolk are having to fund their own campaign.

This is just the latest move in a series of controversial steps, including the ACN being told right at the start by the region's strategic health authority that it had to approve the move to Norwich.

The decision making has also hindered by management doublespeak. One of the most blatant examples has just been revealed after it emerged that the ACN claimed there was no opposition to the proposed move at a crucial meeting - which was closed to the public and anyone opposed to the move!

Throughout the whole process the odds have been firmly stacked against anyone, or any organisation, opposed to the move - but still the authorities have failed to persuade the vast majority of people, their potential patients, that it would be for the best.

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The hope now rests on the health scrutiny committee and Health Secretary Alan Johnson to listen to the people of Suffolk and make the right decision.

WHAT stars we have in Suffolk after the magnificent fundraising effort with yesterday's Orwell Walk.

Earlier this year the massive fundraising event had to be postponed because much of the path to be used was under several feet of water.

It was put off until this weekend, so organisers must have been hit with an uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu when they saw all the rain at the end of last week.

Conditions were very damp underfoot and the skies were not exactly welcoming for yesterday's event, but more than 1,000 walkers turned out to substantially boost charity takings across the county.

Everyone who took part in the event - organisers and walkers - are real heroes for not letting this summer's appalling weather win.

They can be truly proud of all their efforts.

LEONA Lewis is a real rarity - a star created by a TV talent show who has genuine star quality.

But real star quality is about much more than getting on a stage, singing and behaving like a diva once the curtain falls - it is about treating your fans with respect.

And Leona proved that she has star quality in spadefuls by sharing a meal with Felixstowe woman Ellen Diaper and accepting her gift of a bracelet.

It proved that Leona not only has a sensational voice - she has a great attitude to her fans as well.

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