Private meeting to decide centre's fate

A KEY meeting to decide the future of head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital will be held in private, it emerged today.The Anglia Cancer Network (ACN), the body which recommended scraping the lifesaving surgery at Ipswich and moving it to Norwich, will be discussing the proposals at its board meeting on Wednesday.

A KEY meeting to decide the future of head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital will be held in private, it emerged today.

The Anglia Cancer Network (ACN), the body which recommended scraping the lifesaving surgery at Ipswich and moving it to Norwich, will be discussing the proposals at its board meeting on Wednesday.

But the meeting will be held in private with no members of the public allowed in to ask questions, despite the issue provoking overwhelming opposition, with more than 3,000 people signing The Evening Star's petition against the move.

During the meeting unelected chief executives from eastern Primary Care Trusts, who are not linked to Suffolk, will listen to a summary of the public consultation into the move and hear the view of the ACN chiefs, before voting.

The news come the day after Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, Ben Gummer, Ipswich Borough Council leader, Liz Harsant, and Mary Young, Conservative candidate in the Castle Hill by-election, handed more than 2,000 petitions against the move to the Department of Health.

A spokesman for Anglia Cancer Network said: “In line with how other clinical networks work, board meetings are internal.

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“At the meeting on 9 July, the network will make a recommendation which will then be submitted to Suffolk PCT's board, where a final decision at a meeting to be held in public on 30 July.

“We are satisfied that our public consultation has given ample opportunity for patients and members of the public to put their point of view across.

“In a unique move, we have shared the platform at public meetings with a patient user group which has made sure their views get across to us properly.

“Our proposals would see major surgery for head and neck cancer carried out at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to get the best possible clinical outcomes for patients, with all other aspects of care, including radiotherapy, continuing at Ipswich Hospital.”

Should the Anglia Cancer Network's board meeting be held in public? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.