2,000 people oppose cancer service move

VIDEO More than 2,000 people signed a petition to protest against proposed cutbacks to cancer care at a Suffolk hospital.

Anthony Bond

MORE than 2,000 people signed a petition to protest against proposed cutbacks to cancer care at a Suffolk hospital.

Ben Gummer, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, manned a stall at the Cornhill on Saturday to collect signatures from those against the relocation of specialist head and neck services from the town to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Mr Gummer said: “It went very well and we ran out of petition sheets in the end. People are very worried about it and were keen to put their names down.

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“There was an extraordinary amount of anxiety about closing cancer services in Ipswich and people see it as another slice of services offered by Ipswich Hospital being lost and a further move to making it just a glorified clinic.”

The Anglia Cancer Network (ACN) wants to move the surgery because Ipswich Hospital is treating less than the recommended 100 new cases a year and does not serve a population of one million people to enable it to remain a designated centre.

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Its figures showed the hospital only treats 66 new cases each year - but there has been concern that these figures are out of date.

Mr Gummer said: “People are furious. It is clear that ACN's proposals not only fly in the face of considered medical opinion but are quite contrary to public opinion as well.

“It is imperative that we retain full treatment for cancer patients here in Ipswich. The Government has said that it will listen - that is what it now needs to do on cancer care in Ipswich.”

Mr Gummer said he will hand the petition to the Department of Health in the next couple of weeks.

Speaking recently, Audrey Bradford, director of ACN, said they were trying to empathise with patients and were hearing people's concerns in the consultation process.

“What we want to do is understand these concerns and balance them against the requirements to ensure that head and neck services comply with the Department of Health guidance,” she said.

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