The fight goes on!

WE must not let this happen.As the public consultation into the plans to scrap head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital ends today The Evening Star urges health bosses to listen to the overwhelming opposition of patients, doctors, charities, medical bodies, MPs and the general public.

Rebecca Lefort

WE must not let this happen.

As the public consultation into the plans to scrap head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital ends today The Evening Star urges health bosses to listen to the overwhelming opposition of patients, doctors, charities, medical bodies, MPs and the general public.

Since the Star launched its campaign in March to prevent the move, nearly 2,900 people have signed our petition in the paper and online, making it one of our most successful campaigns ever.

There can be no stronger message to send to the Anglia Cancer Network (ACN), whose board will rule on the proposals next month.

Throughout our campaign we have highlighted:

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- The flaws in the data regarding the number of patients treated at Ipswich Hospital.

- Suffolk Primary Care Trust's attempts to suppress clinicians at Ipswich Hospital from speaking out about those figures.

- The lack of specialist registrars in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

- That patients living as close to Ipswich as Manningtree will be sent to Chelmsford for treatment, simply because of healthcare boundaries.

- That Ipswich Hospital itself believes the decision will have an impact on its ability to provide emergency care.

- That there is no published evidence to prove creating a specialist centre will improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients.

Six public consultations have been held into the plans, and not one member of the public attending the meetings has spoken up in support of the change.

The Star has now presented all its petitions to Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) which is hosting the consultation, and those will now be sent to Dr Steven Wilkinson of the University if East Anglia who is charged with summing up all feedback gathered during the consultation.

Jennie Fisher, head of patient and public involvement and relationships, stressed that all the views would be read and considered.

She added: “We've had quite a lot of last minute responses.

“We are logging them all and typing them all and sending everything - e-mails, letters and public consultation minutes - to the external analyst.

“He will be analysing it and providing a report for the Anglia Cancer Network board on July 9.

“We've had a pretty good response for this consultation as it is quite a specialist subject.

“Getting people involved is great in terms of public participation.”

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