Ipswich hopefuls agree to heart debate

TWO opponents are today preparing for a public debate in the battle for the best possible heart attack care in Ipswich.

TWO opponents are today preparing for a public showdown in the battle for the best possible heart attack care in Ipswich.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole will debate against his future foe in the next general election Conservative parliamentary candidate Ben Gummer about the controversial plans.

Mr Mole has been heavily criticised by his constituents for backing plans which would see emergency heart attack patients treated outside Suffolk.

Meanwhile Mr Gummer has been campaigning for a specialist heart attack centre to be set up in Ipswich, so the town's victims have the same chance of life as people in Norwich, Cambridge and Basildon.

Yesterday the pair agreed to debate the life-and-death argument in public.

Mr Gummer said: “The proposed changes to emergency heart care in Ipswich which have caused considerable concern right across the town. It is clear that Chris Mole and I do not agree on the strategy adopted by the Strategic Health Authority.

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“I think that these are issues that are so important and so integral to the future of our town's healthcare that they should be aired in public, by measured and proportionate debate.

“Voters clearly want their politicians to return to their roots - to discuss matters of concern to them and their communities. These changes to emergency heart treatment are of the utmost importance - both Chris and I owe it to the people we represent to discuss them publicly and allow local residents to question us on the position we have chosen to take.”

Meanwhile Mr Mole agreed to the proposals, and said he would be delighted “to debate what has been proposed with anyone from Ipswich.”

He added in a letter published in today's Evening Star: “The more I have studied these matters the more persuaded I have become (that) to change my position arbitrarily would be immoral.”

The date and format of the debate have not yet been determined.