Mole looks into cancer debate

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole has waded into the debate over a controversial recommendation to scrap some cancer services from Ipswich Hospital.Mr Mole said he realised the suggestion of moving head and neck cancer surgery from Ipswich to Norwich was worrying patients and doctors and he was keen to see evidence about the impact of the plans.

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole has waded into the debate over a controversial recommendation to scrap some cancer services from Ipswich Hospital.

Mr Mole said he realised the suggestion of moving head and neck cancer surgery from Ipswich to Norwich was worrying patients and doctors and he was keen to see evidence about the impact of the plans.

He is now writing to health experts to find out what the impact could be and is to talk to national cancer tsar Mike Richards about the proposal.

His actions come as The Evening Star launches a campaign to save the service, urging readers to sign a petition to keep the surgery in Ipswich.

Ipswich hospital's oral and maxillofacial consultant, Huw Davies, has already written to the MP warning him that there would be an exodus of staff from the hospital which could result in trauma services also being lost.

Mr Mole said: “I've written to Ipswich Hospital asking them for their views and they say it could have an impact but they are investigating that, and I've written to the Anglia Cancer Network saying I want them to make sure that they take into account the impact on other areas of activity in Ipswich Hospital.

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“I've also asked for a telephone conversation with the national cancer tsar, Mike Richards, which is arranged for sometime in the next week or two.

“I have also written back to Huw Davies.”

Mr Mole added that he also wanted to know why the Anglia Cancer Network (ACN) had not considered the option of running a joint head and neck cancer surgery between Ipswich and Norwich as a viable option.

He said: “I want to see evidence from all these people and bodies that are making arguments.”

The ACN has recommended sending all head and neck cancer surgery cases from Ipswich to Norwich in order to comply with national guidelines.

It said better treatment could be provided in specialist centres and that Ipswich Hospital does not treat enough cases of head and neck cancer a year or serve a large enough population to qualify as one of the centres.

Initial diagnosis and follow-up care would still be provided at Ipswich Hospital but concerns have been raised by experts about the impact it would have on the hospital's oral and maxillofacial department.

Are you concerned about head and neck cancer services moving to Norwich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Anglia Cancer Network (ACN), the body that co-ordinates the development of cancer services across the region want to move head and neck cancer surgery to Norwich to comply with national guidelines.

This guidance suggests that surgery is carried out in centres which serve a population of approximately one million people and treat at least 100 new cases each year, which Ipswich Hospital does not do.

ACN claim that the move will improve services for patients.

But The Evening Star is campaigning to block the move and keep the service at the fantastic oral and maxillofacial department at Ipswich Hospital to prevent ill people and their families having to travel more than 40 miles for their life saving surgery.

The highly skilled staff at the oral and maxillofacial department in Ipswich do wonderful work, not only for cancer patients, but also for people who have been injured in car accidents or injured in other ways.

This could all be under threat if the cancer surgery gets moved.

So sign our petition and let the health bosses of the region know that we want to keep our excellent healthcare in our own town.

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