Hospital chief's fear over new moves

IPSWICH Hospital's chief executive has spoken of his fears for the future of the hospital if pancreatic cancer surgery is scrapped.

IPSWICH Hospital's chief executive has spoken of his fears for the future of the hospital if pancreatic cancer surgery is scrapped.

Andrew Reed told yesterday's meeting of the joint overview and scrutiny committee that plans to centralise the specialist surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge could risk destabilising Ipswich's highly-rated department.

Mr Reed's decision to criticise the proposed move came after two of his top consultants admitted they might leave if pancreatic cancer surgery, like head and neck cancer surgery last year, is moved away from Ipswich Hospital.

He said: “There is a real strength of hospital feeling and community feeling about the future of Ipswich Hospital,” he said.

“I personally believe we have a strong future. But I think we fear that the risk of losing pancreatic cancer surgery may mean the risk that some of our surgeons may decide to leave, and there is a future risk of whether we can recruit their replacements.

“We fear that other (procedures) will follow pancreatic cancer surgery because once you put it in a centre people may say other things might as we go there.

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“There are a whole series of unintended consequences which really need to be looked at.”

Mr Reed added that he believed the case for making Ipswich Hospital the pancreatic cancer centre in the East, sending Cambridgeshire patients to Heath Road, had not been thoroughly looked at.

The meeting at Ipswich County Library yesterday gave councillors the chance to scrutinise the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group's plans to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates by creating centres of excellence.

Should pancreatic cancer at Ipswich Hospital be scrapped? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Pancreatic debate

Pancreatic cancer has a very low survival rate and health bosses are keen to centralise surgery to create centres of excellence

The East of England Specialised Commissioning Group recommended making Addenbrooke's in Cambridge the centre and stopping pancreatic cancer surgery in Ipswich

At the most recent review both Ipswich and Addenbrooke's were rated highly for their skills

Consultants at both Ipswich Hospital and Colchester General Hospital have spoken out about their fears if the surgery is scrapped at Ipswich

Ipswich Hospital believes that transferring the treatment to Ipswich would not have a similar negative impact on Addenbrooke's, because the hospital already carries out related complex surgery

NHS Suffolk, which buys and plans services in the county, has backed plans to move the surgery from Ipswich to Addenbrooke's

The consultation into the plans ended yesterday and a final decision will be announced soon