Keep your word, minister!

SUFFOLK: Now is the time to deliver on your pledges, minister.

That was the call from The Evening Star today following confirmation that Tory Andrew Lansley – who has promised to improve services in Ipswich – has been appointed as the government’s new health secretary.

Mr Lansley visited Ipswich on a number of occasions during his time in opposition, making a series of pledges to fight for the town’s hospital as it aims to create a top heart care centre and protect the existing services.

Now we are calling on him to stay true to his word.

The Star, supported by health campaigners, will be keeping a close eye on policy development as part of our Health Watch campaign, which was launched to scrutinise the actions of politicians to ensure patients get the best deal.

In 2008, Mr Lansley backed the Star’s campaign to stop the scrapping of vital cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital.

The MP for South Cambridgeshire met with doctors and patients and spoke out about the recommendation to move the service to a regional centre in Norwich. During the 2005 election campaign, Mr Lansley criticised the Labour government for not being able to ensure hospitals were clean.

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And in his most recent visit to Ipswich Hospital, Mr Lansley spoke of his support for the foundation trust status bid and fight for improved heart services.

He said: “We would like to see Ipswich Hospital getting full foundation trust status which would mean it would be able to go out to GPs and offer them a service like primary angioplasty if that is what they felt they need.

“My constituency includes Papworth and it has taken me an hour and a quarter to get here today. I know how important it is to have services like this nearby.”

Andrew Reed, Ipswich Hospital chief executive, said: “We will work with any and every health secretary in place. It is good to have a health secretary who is regionally based as that may help us have a bit more access to him.

“He has visited Ipswich Hospital on more than one occasion so he knows a little bit about us and has had the chance to meet us.

“We are looking forward to working with him.

“We have a secure future.”

New Ipswich MP Ben Gummer added: “There are very few politicians that have such a grasp of the issues facing the NHS like Andrew has.

“I have seen him meeting frontline staff and they are always impressed that he is aware of the challenges they face.”

n If you want to donate money to our Have a Heart Appeal, which will help fund a new elective angioplasty unit at the hospital, send a cheque made payable to Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust to ‘Have a Heart’ appeal, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or donate money at the Star’s Ipswich offices.

n What is your view on Mr Lansley’s promises? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.ukww

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