Public get its say over cancer services

A PUBLIC consultation is under way today into controversial proposals which would see some cancer services removed from Ipswich Hospital.

A PUBLIC consultation is under way today into controversial proposals which would see some cancer services removed from Ipswich Hospital.

The Anglia Cancer Network is recommending that patients needing surgery for head and neck cancer should travel to Norwich for treatment.

The changes would see Ipswich Hospital, which currently offers head and neck cancer surgery, providing initial diagnosis and follow-up care, but losing surgical expertise.

Anglia Cancer Network has said the shake-up is needed to comply with national guidelines but the plans have sparked concerns among patient groups.


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Audrey Bradford, director for the Anglia Cancer Network, said: “Our aim is to ensure that people in Suffolk have access to high quality cancer services.

“There is a challenge to provide services as locally as possible while ensuring we provide the best possible care for patients.

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“This has been the case for other cancers as well, and services have already changed in order to meet recommended best practice. In the case of surgery for head and neck cancers, the national evidence is that quality of care and survival rates is improved if it is provided in specialist centres.”

The guidelines for head and neck cancer recommends that surgery is carried out in centres that serve a population of around one million people and treat at least 100 new cases each year, which Ipswich Hospital does not do.

A public consultation will now run until 4 June 2008.

Copies of the consultation document are available online at www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk/consultation.

There will also be forums in Aldeburgh, Stowmarket, Kesgrave and Bury St Edmunds.

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