Ipswich: MP hits out over bid to move vital ops away from hospital

IPSWICH: Proposals to move a vital health service from Ipswich Hospital have today been severely criticised.

The Evening Star reported on Monday how plans to move the Heath Road site’s vascular surgery service to Colchester Hospital had moved a step closer following a recommendation from the expert carrying out the review.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “I’m really disappointed that this review has recommended moving the vascular service to Colchester.

“To me, this decision seems particularly wrong-headed as I don’t believe facilities at Colchester are better than those at Ipswich.

“We now need to stand up and make it plain that we want to keep vital services here at Ipswich.”

Prue Rush, a Suffolk-based health campaigner, added: “This decision could make life very difficult for people, particularly those living in rural areas.

“It’s a great shame that people would have to travel all the way to Colchester. For some this journey is expensive and problematic.

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“I know these decisions are having to be made for financial reasons but it really pains me to see Ipswich Hospital shrinking.”

All vascular treatments in Suffolk and North Essex are currently split between Ipswich Hospital and Colchester General Hospital, with staff working on a joint rota.

In line with national guidelines, both hospitals have signed up to a process that will result in a single site for major arterial surgery, meaning the treatments would be controlled from either Ipswich or Colchester.

A review over the decision was carried out recently by Professor Michael Gough, who recommended that the site be established in Colchester.

The final decision will not be taken until after a consultation of all interested parties, including the public, in the spring.

Once established, the centre will be for major arterial surgery only, which is a small percentage of vascular surgery.

On average, 100 of this limited range of operations, which include aortic aneurysm repair, are carried out a year at Ipswich and 130 at Colchester.

n What is your view? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstar letters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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