Petition: Keep our cancer services here

A PETITION campaigning against the scrapping of head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital was due to be handed to health bosses today.

Rebecca Lefort

A PETITION campaigning against the scrapping of head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital was due to be handed to health bosses today.

Ben Gummer, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, travelled to London with Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, and Mary Young, Conservative candidate in the Castle Hill by-election.

There they were due to hand over a list of more than 2,100 names of people who oppose the move to the Department of Health in an effort to keep the life-saving surgery at Ipswich.

In addition to their list more than 3,000 people have signed an Evening Star petition against the move which could have a devastating impact on the hospital's ability to provide trauma services.

Mr Gummer said: “When we took this petition to the streets of Ipswich the response was truly phenomenal - at one point we were collecting signatures at a rate of 500 an hour.

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“Local people are furious. The government's proposals are an insult to Ipswich people - piece by piece they are taking our hospital apart.

“That is why it is so important that we keep full cancer services at Ipswich hospital - because if we don't win this battle, all we'll be left with is a glorified health clinic.

“The government has said that it will listen. Now we'll find out if they are true to their word.

“The opposition to these changes is fierce. I for one will not be giving up the fight.”

What is your message to the government about the plans to move head and neck cancer surgery? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The campaign

The Evening Star is fighting to keep head and neck cancer surgery where it belongs - at Ipswich Hospital.

The Anglia Cancer Network (ACN) wants to move the life-saving surgery to Norwich, leaving patients with an arduous journey at one of the most stressful times of their lives.

The ACN says the move is needed to comply with national guidelines about the number of patients treated at hospitals.

So far more than 3,000 people have signed the Star's petition against the move.

And during the campaign the Star has highlighted:

The public consultation into the move was a sham, with the East of England Strategic Health Authority telling health colleagues the only allowable option was to move the service to Norwich.

The flaws in the data regarding the number of patients treated at Ipswich Hospital.

Suffolk Primary Care Trust's attempts to suppress clinicians at Ipswich Hospital from speaking out about those figures.

The lack of specialist registrars in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

That patients living as close to Ipswich as Manningtree will be sent to Chelmsford for treatment, simply because of healthcare boundaries.

That Ipswich Hospital itself believes the decision will have an impact on its ability to provide emergency care.

That there is no published evidence to prove creating a specialist centre will improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients.

To sign our petition to keep cancer care in Ipswich visit www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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