Heart campaigners remain defiant

SUFFOLK: A leading campaigner today championed Ipswich's bid for a specialist heart care centre - despite claims the hospital lacks the necessary skills to accommodate the facility.

SUFFOLK: A leading campaigner today championed Ipswich's bid for a specialist heart care centre - despite claims the hospital lacks the necessary skills to accommodate the facility.

Ben Gummer, prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives in Ipswich, said he believes the town will eventually be home to an emergency primary angioplasty (PPCI) centre and able to treat serious heart attack patients.

His comments come after Ipswich Hospital chief Andrew Reed claimed the centre was not feasible and said Heath Road could only realistically aim for a facility to carry out non-urgent heart operations - elective angioplasty.

Currently any patients that have emergency heart attacks in Suffolk and need specialist treatment are taken to centres at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Papworth and Basildon in Essex under changes brought by The East of England Specialised Commissioning Group earlier this year.


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A review to test journey times to the centres is underway as ordered by national heart tsar Professor Roger Boyle following public outrage on the changes.

It has emerged that since the trial started in September, there are believed to have been around ten cases, with an average of four a month from the East Suffolk area.

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A defiant Mr Gummer said: “Professor Boyle was very clear in his instructions to the Strategic Health Authority that Ipswich should be allowed to set up an elective angioplasty centre immediately with the view in the medium term to have the capacity to have its own PPCI centre.

“I am hoping the hospital will be able to build the new [elective] unit early next year and recruit staff to run it. I know that with the dedication the doctors and nurses in Ipswich Hospital show, they will be able to build the capacity over the next few years so we can have our own PPCI centre.”

However, Mr Reed said: “It would not be feasible for Ipswich Hospital to provide an emergency primary angioplasty centre.

“We do not have the skills we would need to run this service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and the number of procedures we would be likely to carry out would not enable us to ensure the proper levels of patient safety.

“We do have strong cardiology services which we hope to strengthen with the backing of NHS Suffolk by developing a service for planned elective angioplasty.”

Have you experienced heart problems and have a view on this? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The Evening Star launched its Have A Heart Appeal to help set up a catheter laboratory at Ipswich Hospital, which could eventually be expanded into a specialist primary angioplasty centre.

To support the 'Have a Heart' appeal send cheques made payable to Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust to Have a Heart, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or donate money in person at the Star's Ipswich offices.

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