Save our Angels campaign launched

AS Ipswich Hospital's pitiful financial crisis deepens the Evening Star is today launching an unprecedented campaign to save the specialist nursing staff who care for the most vulnerable members of our community.

AS Ipswich Hospital's pitiful financial crisis deepens the Evening Star is today launching an unprecedented campaign to save the specialist nursing staff who care for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Trust bosses want to axe up to 40 per cent of the hospital's 84 specialist nurses who care for patients with conditions as diverse as cancer, epilepsy and diabetes.

The move has provoked outrage from the public and now The Star is throwing its weight behind a campaign to Save Our Angels petition.

Our campaign is aimed at saving as many of the specialist posts as possible - but as many nursing jobs as possible in other areas too.

Forms will be available in the paper and on-line and we pledge to take it to health bosses in Whitehall to show just how much Ipswich and Suffolk cares - and the depth of feeling against these losses of vital jobs.

Your county needs you, and with your help the Star will continue an unceasing battle to save as many of these desperately needed posts as possible, irrespective of Suffolk's health bosses' decision to wield the axe.

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Nigel Pickover, editor of the Star, said today: “ We have watched in astonishment and horror as nursing posts have been slashed, services decimated and as morale has gone through the floor - while all the time the Government and its minions are telling us things are getting better in the NHS.

“We have decided to fight for the brilliant staff at Ipswich Hospital - headlining on the specialist staff but not forgetting other vital workers who are under threat as Christmas approaches.

“The hard-pressed management at Ipswich is being run ragged by brutal, impossible, cost cut targets and needs time to turn things around. They need the help and support of the primary care trust to do this and we shall be watching for the PCT to join in the fight to save these posts. If the PCT doesn't help in the fight the people of Suffolk will never forgive it.”

So, we want to hear from the nurses and hospital staff themselves, and from every member of the public who has ever had support and help from this army of hidden angels.

We need to highlight the stories of the work these nurses do - and we'll be ramming home the Save our Angels story at every turn … so please help us

The Evening Star has already highlighted the plight of families who have received care from the specialist nurses who work in the children's cancer department, helping terminally ill children to spend their last days at home with loved ones.

Sarah Beard, whose five-year-old daughter Chelsie, died last month, spoke out about the cuts, highlighting how devastating the loss of just one nurse could be in this area.

She said: “Axing their positions will put a huge strain on families who will be in the position I was in. It would mean a child's last days or weeks will be spent in hospital, and who wants that?”

An online petition set up by her has already been signed by more than 800 people and we will combine this with our efforts.

The hospital has so far failed to publish a list of all the nurses under threat for the public to see, but the cuts look set to reach in to every department.

A spokesman for the Ipswich Epilepsy Support Group, said: “Any of the posts connected with specialist nursing must not be lost and we, as a support group, implore the individuals who seek to cut these services to rethink and, if necessary, talk to the general public who recognise first hand how devastating the loss will be.”

The plans to reduce specialist nurses could save the hospital £1.3m - a drop in the ocean compared to its total debt of more than £24m, but hospital bosses claim they have far more specialist nurses than other hospitals of a similar size.

The launch of the Star's petition comes just two days after we broke the news that the hospital could open its doors to animals in a bid to claw back some of the money it owes.

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