Join the great heart debate

BATTLELINES are today being drawn as two opponents prepare to argue over the future of heart attack care in Suffolk.

BATTLELINES are today being drawn as two opponents prepare to argue over the future of heart attack care in Suffolk.

Ipswich's MP Chris Mole will face his Conservative parliamentary challenger, Ben Gummer, at an open healthcare debate in the town on Sunday evening - and everyone is invited to join in.

During the fiercely contested confrontation Labour politician Mr Mole will outline why he is backing plans to treat emergency heart attack victims at specialist centres which have been set up in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, but not Suffolk.

Meanwhile Mr Gummer will argue against the proposals, which have been put forward by the East of England Specialised Commissioning and Strategic Health Authority, and have caused outrage among patients and the public in Ipswich and east Suffolk.

The Evening Star has organised the free public debate, which is being hosted by Suffolk County Council at its Endeavour House headquarters, and will start at 7pm on Sunday.

Nigel Pickover, editor of the Star, said: “I am extremely excited about this important heart attack debate.

Most Read

“It will be a great opportunity for politicians to engage with the public, let them know their views, and listen to what patients and the people of Ipswich have to say. It really is brining politics to the people.

“I hope everyone who cares about the future of heart attack care in Suffolk will come along to have their say.”

During the debate, which will be chaired by former Suffolk fire chief and current Evening Star ombudsman, Malcolm Alcock, both politicians will outline their cases and answer questions from each other.

The public will then be allowed to ask questions of either Mr Mole or Mr Gummer.

- What questions will you be putting to the politicians? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

The debate

- The Suffolk heart attack debate will start at 7pm on Sunday, June 28.

- Ipswich MP Chris Mole and the Conservative parliamentary candidate Ben Gummer will argue about the best way to treat emergency heart attack victims in Suffolk.

- The debate will be held at Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House building in Russell Road, Ipswich.

- Free parking will be available in the council's car park.

- The building will be open from 6.30pm and because the event is not ticketed people are advised to arrive early to get a seat.

- If you have access problems or any other questions about the event please call Rebecca Lefort on 01473 324802.

Heart attack debate

- Currently emergency heart attack victims are given clot-busting drugs by paramedics or in hospital

- The plans would see them instead taken to specialist primary angioplasty centres set up in Norwich, Papworth in Cambridgeshire, and Basildon in Essex.

- Health bosses at the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group and Strategic Health Authority say primary angioplasty gives people more chance of survival than the drugs.

- But to be effective any heart attack treatment needs to be given as quickly as possible.

- In Suffolk patients, politicians and doctors have expressed fears that the long distances people will face for treatment could put them at risk.