Ipswich Hospital could treat animals
IPSWICH Hospital could turn into animal hospital and be the first in the country to open its doors to cats and dogs as a way of raising extra funds.Today, the Evening Star can reveal that under controversial proposals the hospital's state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment, which lies dormant at the weekends, could be used to treat family pets with cancer in special Saturday morning clinics.
IPSWICH Hospital could turn into animal hospital and be the first in the country to open its doors to cats and dogs as a way of raising extra funds.
Today, the Evening Star can reveal that under controversial proposals the hospital's state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment, which lies dormant at the weekends, could be used to treat family pets with cancer in special Saturday morning clinics.
The proposal is one of the more bizarre measures included in the hospital's financial recovery plan, drawn up to help pay back debts of more than £24m, but it could earn the hospital around £50,000 a year - enough to pay two nurses' wages for a year.
Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “We have no waiting lists for radiotherapy equipment at the moment and there would be absolutely no question of us doing this if we did.
“No patient will be disadvantaged by this.”
Ms Rowsell said the idea was generated after discussion with staff.
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She said: “This has come from radiotherapy staff themselves. We will use very stringent infection control procedures. Everything will be covered in anti-allergy drapes and hygiene will be of the utmost importance.
“The important thing to stress is that this is only a proposal at the moment.
“We are looking in to the possibility of teaming up with a veterinary school as we have the equipment and staff who are skilled at using it, but we would need the specialist veterinary knowledge as well.”
She said animals would be brought in to the hospital via the nearest available entrance and added that dogs are already allowed in the hospital in the form of guide dogs and PAT (Pets As Therapy) dogs, which are brought in to cheer up patients.
Ipswich Hospital is renowned for its advances in radiotherapy treatment.
In 2005 national cancer czar Professor Mike Richards opened a £1.8m linear accelerator unit - one of only a handful in the world.
The machine is capable of delivering extremely targeted radiotherapy