Heart service plan - who's said what?

- Len Tate, of Heartbeat East Suffolk, which represents heart patients: “We are dismayed to learn that Ipswich Hospital has not been proposed to be a heart centre, despite the support and evidence of the cardiologists and GPs.

- Len Tate, of Heartbeat East Suffolk, which represents heart patients: “We are dismayed to learn that Ipswich Hospital has not been proposed to be a heart centre, despite the support and evidence of the cardiologists and GPs.

“With our region being of a rural nature and with uncertain travel times, it affords a black hole in relation to travel times and patient outcomes.

“There is a distinct possibility that we may well see patients being driven along bumpy roads in which the longer you travel, it may have a negative impact on the patient's condition.

“We believe the decision has been made without due care and attention.”

- Chris Mole, Ipswich MP: "The difficulty is in putting in place the right number of centres when there are some parts of the region where travel times may be compromised by congestion.

"My view would be that if over a period of time they find that patients from Suffolk and north east Essex can't be got to heart attack centres then they should return to the question of providing pre-hospital thrombolysis (clot-busting) or consider Ipswich for a part time centre.”

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- Ben Gummer, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ipswich: “This is not a complex medical debate - heart attacks are the biggest killer in the UK and more people here in Ipswich would survive them if they could have treatment at a specialist centre here in the town, not miles away at the end of an unreliable road.

“The lives of people in Ipswich are being chanced on the traffic on the A140. I have no doubt that people will die in ambulances unable to make it to the hospitals on time.”

- Dr Robert Winter, medical director of NHS East of England, the strategic health authority: "Establishing designated heart attack centres was one of the key recommendations we made in our strategic vision 'Towards the best, together' because it delivers better care for patients and will save lives. 'Towards the best, together' was subject to wide consultation last year.”

- Tracy Dowling, director of strategic commissioning at NHS Suffolk: “This new service will benefit patients who are unfortunate enough to suffer a heart attack and it will improve survival rates, which is our first priority.

“This new service will be in place of an injection of clot-busting drugs, which are currently given in a patient's home or in an ambulance. It is not clinically safe for a patient to have the injection before the operation as it would stop their blood from clotting.

“We have listened to advice from leading heart specialists and had assurances from the Specialist Commissioning Group during the development of these proposals that the travelling times to the new centres are clinically safe. We will be closely monitoring the impact on our patients.”

- Andrew Reed, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital: “We expressed our reservations that having only three primary angioplasty centres for the East of England could disadvantage residents of Suffolk because of the distances that many patients will have to travel.

“We believe that a more local network of primary angioplasty services - including Ipswich - may be a better option for east Suffolk.”

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