Time is running out for heart services

TIME is running out today in the battle to provide the best care possible for Suffolk's heart attack patients - but now you can add your name to our petition against the plan.

Rebecca Lefort

TIME is running out today in the battle to provide the best care possible for Suffolk's heart attack patients.

Unless health bosses agree to the growing demands for a re-think to the controversial plans to ferry emergency patients to Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Essex, the drastic changes will take effect on June 1.

Today The Evening Star calls on East Anglia's distant health bosses to launch a proper consultation and actually find out what people in Ipswich want, before imposing an unpopular and untested change, which puts people's lives in the hands of the A140, A14 and A12.

The plea comes as it emerged that NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust (PCT), which plans healthcare in Suffolk, was unaware of the full impact of the changes.

John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, said he was appalled that when raising his concerns with NHS Suffolk he was told not to worry because clot-busting drugs could still be given to patients if paramedics feared they would not reach one of the new specialist centres in Norwich, Papworth or Basildon on time.

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That is not correct.

The Specialised Commissioning Group, which made the decision, considered that option but rejected it because it did not want a hybrid system.

Today Mr Gummer said it was urgent that the matter was scrutinised properly as part of a public consultation, and said he was staggered that as an MP he was told of the move not by health bosses but by the Star.

He added: “This is an amazingly badly run operation.

“It turns out that the details were not even properly given to the PCT. The PCT had to go away and find out what was happening - less than a month before the changes were taking place.

“It is a scandal that this has not been a matter of consultation because people must be able to understand what it is they are being offered.

“We are clearly working on the edge of what is sensible, even if we are not over it. If something is on the edge of acceptability then the people being asked to live with it should have their say.

“Places like Southwold, Aldeburgh and Felixstowe are not just a few people scattered in some distant part of Scotland. These are people who have the right to think they have the same standard of care as those people in Bury St Edmunds.”

- Ipswich Hospital's cardiology services:-

FROM June 1 emergency heart attack patients will no longer be treated at Ipswich Hospital.

It is thought the changes will cost the hospital around �750,000 a year in lost revenue.

However the hospital is planning to expand other aspects of its cardiology department, and is currently advertising for three new consultant cardiologists.

A new full-time dedicated Cardiac Catheter laboratory is currently being planned for the site to increase diagnostic capacity and allow some of the more complex procedures to be carried out locally.