Hundreds sign up to save cancer services

MORE than 400 worried patients are making their voices heard today as they join the fight to keep cancer care in Suffolk.Since The Evening Star launched a campaign last Saturday to make sure head and neck cancer surgery stays at Ipswich Hospital more than 400 people have pledged their support and expressed their outrage at the possibility of losing a life-saving service which the hospital is extremely proud of.

MORE than 400 worried patients are making their voices heard today as they join the fight to keep cancer care in Suffolk.

Since The Evening Star launched a campaign last Saturday to make sure head and neck cancer surgery stays at Ipswich Hospital more than 400 people have pledged their support and expressed their outrage at the possibility of losing a life-saving service which the hospital is extremely proud of.

The Anglia Cancer Network (ACN) has recommended scrapping head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital, leaving vulnerable cancer patients facing a round journey of 100 miles to have operations carried out in Norwich.

Experts have warned the move would destroy a first-class oral and maxillofacial department at Ipswich Hospital and put the lives of facial trauma patients at risk.

Now patients are speaking out and adding their concerns to the debate in droves by signing the Cancer Care - Keep it Here petition.

The latest to back the urgent campaign is the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, Ben Gummer.

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He said: “I am extremely concerned about the proposals to cut head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital.

“It is imperative that we retain full treatment for cancer patients here in Ipswich. What the ACN is proposing will see a piecemeal approach to cancer care that is not in the interests of patients or staff at the hospital.

“We are a rapidly expanding town and over the coming years the government wants to see thousands more homes built here. For this reason alone we should be looking to expand Ipswich Hospital not dispersing services across the East of England.

“I would urge all Ipswich residents to support the campaign to keep cancer care services at Ipswich Hospital. We currently have the busiest specialist care centre in East Anglia and we should be expanding the services at Ipswich Hospital not reducing them.”

To make your voice heard you can also take part in a consultation about head and neck surgery. For more information visit www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk.

Patients' concerns

David Paine, of Neptune Square, Ipswich, said: “Some seven years ago during a routine visit to my dentist I was found to have a malignant oral condition and was immediately referred to Huw Davies and his team.

“From the moment I was referred to Huw Davies he and his team have given my wife and myself incredible support though a traumatic time. We are so lucky to have a specialist of Huw Davies' calibre in our county and it is a disgrace that these proposed changes are even being considered.”

Alan Little, of Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, said: “To consider moving an established centre of medical excellence (with distress to patients and probable dispersion of skilled staff) to achieve organisational centralisation is beyond comprehension!”

Philip Heffer, of Brockley Crescent, Ipswich, said: “I think we should keep it at Ipswich Hospital where Huw Davies has operated on me three times in the past 12 years. Norwich is a long way for family and friends if they can not drive.”

Daniel Nuttall, of Lipton Close, Ipswich, said: “Why disrupt a proficient team and condemn family visitors to lengthy journeys in very anxious times. Ipswich's population is rapidly expanding and will eventually need all these local facilities.”