PCT board set to back cancer move

CAMPAIGNERS today vowed to take further action after health chiefs backed a controversial bid to move some cancer surgery out of Ipswich Hospital.

Naomi Cassidy

CAMPAIGNERS today vowed to take further action after health chiefs backed a controversial bid to move some cancer surgery out of Ipswich Hospital.

Suffolk Primary Care Trust's board papers, which have been released ahead of a meeting next Wednesday, have recommended moving head and neck cancer surgery from Ipswich Hospital to Norwich.

The PCT's recommendations in the papers were expected as it has already backed the proposals but a final decision will be made at next week's meeting.

Peter Espley, acting chairman of the Ipswich Hospital Cancer Services User Group, said: “This was expected before the consultation took place. During that consultation, the overwhelming feeling of the people was that they were not being listened to because the decision had already been taken.

“We shall look to the Suffolk County Council health scrutiny committee to see what action they will take and also consider a judicial review because we think the decision-making process is flawed in view of the evidence.”

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Earlier this month the Anglia Cancer Network (ACN) voted to move the surgery to Norwich, ignoring the views of clinicians, patient groups, politicians, medical experts and the 3,000 people who have signed The Evening Star's petition.

It recommends in the PCT's board papers that all other associated care, including diagnosis, radiotherapy and both pre and post operative care, continues at Ipswich Hospital. It will also look into working with partner agencies to improve issues like transport options.

The PCT said the recommendations have been made to ensure national Improving Outcomes Guidance are met.

It states: “Whilst recognising the strength of feeling amongst many consultees in favour of the status quo, there is no good reason not to comply with the IOG guidelines.

“The PCT Board has to consider and balance the benefits anticipated in the longer term for improved cancer survival and outcome rates from this changes whilst also giving due consideration to the impact of these proposed changes on patient access and acceptability as well as the possible impact on associated non-cancer services.”

Carole Taylor-Brown, chief executive of Suffolk PCT, said: “This report into improving outcomes for head and neck cancer patients is very detailed and comprehensive and will be debated fully by the board at its meeting on July 30.”

What do you think of the PCT's decision to back this proposal? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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