Let’s get the heart show on the road

IPSWICH: More than a year after the government’s heart tsar gave his blessing to Suffolk getting its own specialist heart centre, it is time to roll up the sleeves and get started on the project.

That is the message today from the area’s MPs who say the development is vital for this part of the county.

The project to develop a �5.1million specialist elective heart centre at Ipswich Hospital was finally approved by NHS Suffolk in October last year.

But it still has to get approval from bosses higher up the NHS structure.

The East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) – the body that originally decided there should be no emergency heart centre in Suffolk or north Essex – ceased to exist in October last year.

Now the final say exists with the NHS East and Midlands – and MPs Ben Gummer, Dr Dan Poulter, and Dr Therese Coffey have today said the decision is vital for the hospital and the third of a million people that it serves.

Mr Gummer said: “The hospital has to come good on its promises and we have a golden opportunity now.

Most Read

“The hospital has to concentrate on rebuilding services – and I believe it is important it (new heart facilities) happens now – people can’t wait any longer.

“It is time we all rolled our sleeves up to make this happen.”

Dr Poulter said the heart unit was vital because of the nature of the Suffolk population.

He said: “We have a high proportion of older people in this part of the world and the evidence is that older people are more likely to need heart treatment.

“It is very important that Ipswich Hospital gets this new centre. It is a hospital that has lost a number of services over recent years.

“MPs from Suffolk, including myself and Ben Gummer, are meeting to discuss a number of issues over the next few days and this is going to be major topic for us.”

And Dr Coffey endorsed her colleagues’ comments about older patients needing this kind of specialist treatment.

She said it was vital for the hospital to work with local GPs to provide the kind of services they wanted: “I have been speaking to GPs in my constituency and they see it is important to work with Ipswich Hospital for the benefit of patients.

“This kind of treatment is just the kind of thing they are looking to get from a major general hospital like Ipswich.”

How important is the new heart centre to you? Write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

See Star opinion, page six.