Star demands action from Burnham

LET'S take this battle all the way to the top.That is The Evening Star's call today after we sent a letter to the health secretary requesting an urgent meeting over heart attack care and the future of Ipswich Hospital.

LET'S take this battle all the way to the top.

That is The Evening Star's call today after we sent a letter to the health secretary requesting an urgent meeting over heart attack care and the future of Ipswich Hospital.

The Star's editor, Nigel Pickover, and health reporter, Rebecca Lefort, have written to the new man in charge at the Department of Health, Andy Burnham, requesting a get-together.

The newspaper wants to make sure the views of people in Ipswich and Suffolk are heard by policy-making NHS bureaucrats in London.

The request follows the outcry over plans to treat emergency heart attack victims outside the county - which are currently the subject of a review - and not to set up a specialist heart attack centre in Ipswich.

The letter also points out that more than 100 consultants at Ipswich Hospital have signed an open letter warning of their fears for the future of the hospital because of an agenda of centralising services.

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The letter states: “Healthcare in our county has become such a vital issue that we feel it is important that we are able to meet with you to explain why the people of Suffolk feel so passionately about what is happening.

“As the newspaper which has been setting the agenda we have a unique insight into the impact unpopular changes imposed from above have on the public's confidence in their NHS.

“We hope that once you hear the importance of giving people in Suffolk the best possible level of treatment you will be able to use your position to speed along the process of making Ipswich a world-class heart attack centre, as well as working with clinicians at Ipswich to make the hospital an institution which everyone can be proud of.

“You may think that this is a local issue, but it is not. It affects every hospital in every town in every county of Britain, which is why it is so important that you get involved with the debate.”

The Department of Health pledged that the letter would be read and responded to.

Should the health secretary meet with The Evening Star? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.