Hospital appeal hits �15K

Today is the start of an exciting new future at Ipswich Hospital.

IPSWICH: Today is the start of an exciting new future at Ipswich Hospital.

Heartfelt gratitude goes to you - Evening Star readers - who have dug deep and generously donated a fabulous �15,000 for the our Have A Heart Appeal.

We have now handed this sum over to the hospital, which will go towards helping patients who need lifesaving heart surgery.

The money will be used to pay for new equipment in the soon-to-be built catheter laboratory at the Heath Road site, where non-emergency patients can receive elective surgery instead of travelling to Papworth Hospital.

Once this is in place, there is a better chance of achieving our goal of setting up a primary angioplasty centre (PPCI) in Ipswich where emergency heart attack patients can get specialist surgery.

Under recent changes, those who need this treatment currently have to be taken to centres in faraway Basildon, Norwich and Papworth after road dashes of 60 miles and more on chaotic East Anglian roads.

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Nigel Pickover, editor of The Evening Star, said: “When the NHS came up with their ludicrous plans for emergency heart attack care, The Evening Star highlighted the fact that Ipswich and Suffolk had been left out-of-the-loop - and that patients here faced road-dash care at their most vulnerable hour.

“At first NHS managers insisted clot-busting drugs would not be administered by paramedics - and this nonsense was spotted by The Evening Star and the policy was altered.

“Our next victory was to get the non-urgent heart centre (PCI) set up for Ipswich. Now our next step is to win the fight for a PPCI centre in Ipswich, and this money is the half-way house to that goal.

“Today we are delighted to hand over the �15,000 that our readers have kindly raised in the Have a Heart Appeal.

“We are pleased that the money given so generously by our readers will go towards a PCI centre at Ipswich Hospital, which will provide non-urgent heart surgery for patients, and save them travelling to Papworth Hospital.

“This would have never been possible without the issue being highlighted by The Evening Star and Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate Ben Gummer.”

Andrew Reed, Ipswich Hospital's chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to receive the money. It represents for us the huge support our community has for this hospital. They really want to invest in the future of this hospital.

“We want to make sure the hospital has a strong future for our community for many years to come.

“This money will help us do more diagnostics and procedures that people currently have to travel to Papworth for.”

The Star still welcomes donations for the appeal. Every pound will put more pressure on the authorities to agree to launching this centre in Ipswich.

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.

Are you a heart patient who has a view on this? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

Since September 1, serious heart attack patients in Suffolk are being sent to high-tech primary angioplasty centres in Norwich, Cambridge and Basildon, which means journey times are longer and the chances of survival have decreased.

The Evening Star has been campaigning for a primary angioplasty centre (PPCI) to be set up in Ipswich so residents have the best level of care possible and don't face long journeys for treatment

After successfully changing healthcare policy with our campaign, we launched the 'Have a Heart' appeal, which is raising money to help set up a catheter laboratory at Heath Road

The lab will initially be used to treat non-urgent heart operations but could eventually be expanded into primary angioplasty centre (PPCI).