Video: Hundreds back health service fight

HUNDREDS of shoppers made their voice heard over the future of treatment for heart attack victims by signing a petition in Ipswich town centre.

Richard Cornwell

HUNDREDS of shoppers made their voice heard over the future of treatment for heart attack victims by signing a petition in Ipswich town centre.

Campaigners dealt with a steady stream of people wanting to add their names and urge health bosses to create a specialist centre for emergency heart attack patients at Ipswich Hospital rather than sending them to Norwich, Papworth or Basildon.

Ben Gummer, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, described it has a “disaster” and “lunacy” to create specialist heart centres so far away from those who will need them and their families who will want to visit them.

“The important thing is to show the people who are running the health service and making this important decision just how strongly people feel about it,” said Mr Gummer as he collected signatures on the Cornhill.

“Whether this will improve outcomes for heart patients is not proven, but it will be terrible for families.

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“A heart attack is one of the most distressing moments a family can possibly have - relatives of mine have had heart attacks so I know what it's like - and they will have to go all the way to Norwich to follow the person to find out what is happening.

“At a time when that person wants their family close, at the moment when they are close to death, very seriously ill, and the family want to be close to them, they will not be able to be with them. It will not be like simply driving to Ipswich quickly.

“One man who contacted me had had three heart attacks and his wife does not drive and he is very worried how she would be able to follow the ambulance. It's terrifying for these people.”

Ipswich is the fastest growing town in the region - set to expand by the size of Bury St Edmunds by 2021 - and needs a hospital with a full range of services.

Mr Gummer said he would join his petition with those being run by the Evening Star and Heartbeat.

“I think we should take the signatures to London to the secretary of state for health and the prime minister to show them the strength of opinion in Ipswich and Suffolk,” he said.

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