Specialist care for womens' treatment

WOMEN suffering from rare types of gynaecological cancers will soon be able to be treated at a specialist surgery centre at Ipswich Hospital.After a three-month consultation period, a plan for the centre have now been approved and it is scheduled to open late next year.

WOMEN suffering from rare types of gynaecological cancers will soon be able to be treated at a specialist surgery centre at Ipswich Hospital.

After a three-month consultation period, a plan for the centre have now been approved and it is scheduled to open late next year.

It will mean that a total of about 200 women a year from the Chelmsford and Colchester areas will have surgery at Ipswich Hospital, where they will spend an average of seven to nine days. All other aspects of their care will be provided at their local hospital.

This travelling had alarmed some people during the public consultation but Dr David Blainey, lead clinician with the Mid Anglia Cancer Network, vowed that they would ensure that patients were as comfortable as possible.

He said: "During the consultation period it soon became clear that there were legitimate public concerns, principally about how patients and visitors from mid Essex would be able to get to Ipswich.

"As a result of this, we are committed to the principles of helping with transport and providing overnight accommodation in Ipswich for some relatives. We¹re now investigating the options and doing the detailed work to make this happen."

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The team drawing up the plans for the specialist centre is made up of managers and healthcare professionals from Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich, and the Network is re-evaluating the project costs to take account of addressing concerns expressed during the consultation.

Dr Blainey added that the Network would continue to work closely with cancer patients, carers and community health councils as it develops its plans, which will include a £100,000 refurbishment of a ward at Ipswich Hospital.

A total of 106 individuals and organisations expressed views during the consultation period, with a majority in favour of the proposal for a specialist centre.

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