Ipswich: We did it - Star campaign victory helps bring first class heart care to Ipswich Hospital

IPSWICH/SUFFOLK: A specialist heart centre WILL be built at Ipswich Hospital after a Star campaign secured a major victory.

After more than two years fighting for the elective centre, the Ipswich Star can today reveal a new Invasive Cardiology facility will be built at the Heath Road site after �5million was secured.

For hundreds of heart patients - who currently have to travel to Papworth Hospital in Cambridge for routine procedures - the new centre will give access to vital treatment on their doorstep.

The news that the region’s strategic health authority NHS Midlands and East has secured the money from government funds has been welcomed by campaigners who today told of their delight while calling for action to push forward and secure an emergency heart centre at the trust as well.

Sarah Riley, of Bulstrode Road, Ipswich backed our Have A Heart appeal after it emerged she was being forced to wait another two months for vital heart surgery because of the high number of patients requiring treatment at Papworth Hospital.

The 27-year-old said: “Ipswich Hospital really needed this and so did the people living in the town. It is amazing news.

“Every second counts with heart care so to have emergency treatment in Ipswich is essential.”

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In May 2009, the Star uncovered plans to build three heart centres for emergency care (PPCI centres) at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Papworth and Basildon – leaving Suffolk the only neighbouring county without the vital provision.

In December 2010, a report published by Professor Roger Boyle, after the launch of the Star’s Have A Heart campaign, advised that an elective (PCI) centre be built in Ipswich while emergency patients should continue to travel to one of the three PPCI centres.

Peter Donaldson, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust medical director said it is “fantastic news”, praising the Star’s “important” campaign and the support of the public.

He said: “It is truly a landmark day for Ipswich Hospital and the patients of east Suffolk. Everyone at the hospital is absolutely delighted.

“It is really positive for Ipswich.”

He said the money will be available immediately and as soon as planning approval is granted work will be able to start at the Heath Road site.

“This means those patients who currently have to go to other hospitals for many treatments including coronary stenting, won’t have to travel.

“Some who have very specialist needs may still have to go to Papworth or Basildon but for most patients they will benefit from being able to be treated at Ipswich.”

Mr Donaldson added: “This is something everyone at Ipswich Hospital has worked for, but it is also something the public has made very clear that they want and the system has responded very well.

“I would like, on behalf of everybody, patients and the hospital to thank the Star for their media campaign which has been very beneficial.”

The plans to build the centre are now subject to final approval by NHS Midlands and East. It is hoped that the unit will be ready to treat patients in the next financial year.

n Are you pleased funding has been secured for a heart centre in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, The Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk