Shadow minister backs cancer campaign

A TOP politician has today backed The Evening Star's campaign to stop the scraping of a vital cancer service at Ipswich Hospital.Andrew Lansley, the shadow health minister, visited the hospital yesterday to meet with concerned staff and patients, worried about the consequences of the proposed move.

A TOP politician has today backed The Evening Star's campaign to stop the scraping of a vital cancer service at Ipswich Hospital.

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health minister, visited the hospital yesterday to meet with concerned staff and patients, worried about the consequences of the proposed move.

Mr Lansley, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, spoke to oral and maxillofacial consultant, Huw Davies, who has already warned that moving the service to Norwich, as recommended by the Anglia Cancer Network (ACN), would be bad for patients and the hospital.

Mr Lansley said: “I met patients and they spoke from personal experience about the first class care provided here.

“This department has built up expertise and capabilities over a decade and a half and you can't just pick it up and move it.

“The journey to Norwich is a long one and would be distressing for patients.

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“The idea that you can concentrate all the services in one place is mistaken and certainly not necessary if outcomes are good already, as they are in this case.

“I've noticed more than once that there seems to be a law of unintended consequences; when one service moves something else is affected.

“If the move to the Norfolk & Norwich goes ahead it could mean there are no longer the consultants here to support facial trauma in Accident & Emergency.”

Mr Lansley spoke out as patients and clinicians again made their voices heard at the latest consultation meeting into the plans at Ipswich's Corn Exchange yesterday.

Retired GP, Mike Freestone, said he thought the ACN's plans were based on what would be best for urban areas and would not work in Suffolk.

He added: “They don't seem to accept rural areas have problems which are different from city, including transport.”

The ACN has recommended moving all head and neck cancer surgery to the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital to comply with national guidelines.

Initial diagnosis and follow-up care would still be provided at Ipswich Hospital.