Health boss quiet on heart debate gag

SUFFOLK: A health chief today refused to clarify her view on whether it was right to gag Suffolk's emergency heart attack debate.

SUFFOLK: A health chief today refused to clarify her view on whether it was right to gag Suffolk's emergency heart attack debate.

There was outrage after the East of England Ambulance Service and The East of England Strategic Health Authority refused to provide regular updates on journey times and the numbers of patients being taken to out of county specialist centres during the three-month trial ordered by professor Roger Boyle.

The Evening Star asked NHS Suffolk's chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown whether she felt such a move was right, but her response was ambiguous - and a request for further clarification has been refused.

Mrs Taylor-Brown told The Star: “We should look to share information with the public at the earliest opportunity when meaningful conclusions can be drawn from it.”

Despite Mrs Taylor-Brown previously admitting she should have been more open with the public over the controversial heart care plans, that pledge seems to have been recoiled.

At the NHS Suffolk Board meeting in May, Mrs Taylor-Brown said of the heart attack treatment debate: “I fully accept that the NHS got it wrong.

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“What we should have done as an NHS community is had a proper engagement process.”

The ambulance service and SHA say they are not providing the figures because the numbers of patients involved are so few it would breach confidentiality.

However, they say the details will be provided at the end of the trial, which could be longer than the original three months proposed.

Tony Ramsey, of Heartbeat East Suffolk, said: “Because we have had the debate in public and time is of the essence, this information should be in the public domain.

“What are they afraid of?”

Should the heart trial be transparent? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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