Speak up while you can on hospital plan

THERE IS just one week left to make your voice heard.As the public consultation into plans to scrap head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital enters its final week The Evening Star is urging everyone to speak up against the proposals.

Rebecca Lefort

THERE IS just one week left to make your voice heard.

As the public consultation into plans to scrap head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital enters its final week The Evening Star is urging everyone to speak up against the proposals.

So far nearly 2,400 people have signed our petition to stop the switch to Norwich and the possible devastating consequences for the hospital's 24-hour facial trauma services.

Today it emerged that large Suffolk employers are also concerned about the loss of the specialism.

Phil Dance, the MD for technology and a senior manager at BT's Adastral Park site, said at the final public consultation into the plans in Felixstowe yesterday that the company wanted to see more investment in the county's health service, not treatments moved away.

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He said: “We are trying to grow this part of Suffolk.

“We have put a lot of investment into Suffolk and what I have listened to tonight is a series of decisions which would systematically reduce the status of Ipswich.

“As a global company trying to attract global people great health care is vital.

“It is very important that the major employees in the area support the people who live here.”

Meanwhile Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at the Port of Felixstowe, said after the meeting that the port was concerned about the impact the move would have on trauma services.

He added: “We wrote to the appropriate authorities objecting to the plans to move the head and neck service.

“Thankfully serious injuries at the port are very rare but if there is a serious injury it is far preferable to transfer a person to Ipswich rather than Norwich.”

During yesterday's passionate meeting Suffolk Coastal MP, John Gummer, raised concerns about the move and questioned whether it would be taking place if Essex had not set up its own cancer network, meaning patients from as close as Manningtree would travel to Chelmsford to be treated, rather than Ipswich.

If the Essex patients were still sent to Ipswich the number of people treated would reach the 80 needed to maintain a designated head and neck cancer centre in a rural setting, according to national guidelines.

Mr Gummer said: “There is an alternative which has so far been totally excluded because otherwise they would have to explain why people living eight miles from Ipswich are not going to Ipswich.

“We need to look at reconfiguration of the catchment area.

“I think Ipswich Hospital deserves better.”

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