The expert's view

HUW Davies, an expert in oral and maxillofacial surgery who Sir Bobby Robson said saved his life when he developed cancer in his face in 1995, said he was exceedingly worried about the recommendation to scrap head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital.

HUW Davies, an expert in oral and maxillofacial surgery who Sir Bobby Robson said saved his life when he developed cancer in his face in 1995, said he was exceedingly worried about the recommendation to scrap head and neck cancer surgery at Ipswich Hospital.

Mr Davies, who is a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the hospital, said the proposed changes would be disastrous for his department, the whole of the hospital, and patients.

Mr Davies, who has worked at the hospital for 17 years, has no plans to leave.

But he warned: “Staff will leave because they are not doing the interesting work. One colleague has already said to me she may not stay because she's come to do the cancer.


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“The whole department will become second rate; no one will want to come to Ipswich.”

Mr Davies said the 24/7 department was currently one of the busiest and most respected in the region with 7,500 outpatient referrals a year for all conditions, including 2,200 cases of facial trauma and 30 cases of jaw deformity.

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But he added that if expertise was lost by the removal of head and neck cancer surgery both staff and facilities would follow, consequences which could even result in the downgrading of the hospital's Accident and Emergency department if facial emergencies had to be sent to other hospitals.

Mr Davies also said there was no evidence that specialist head and neck cancer surgery centres provided a better service, as the ACN claimed, and that patients would be faced with disrupting and dangerous travel.

He said: “Patients will stay in hospital for two to three weeks so their families will regularly face these journeys.”

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