Cancer services plan revealed

MEMBERS of the public are being asked for their opinions to help with the fight against cancer in Suffolk and north Essex. An informal consultation to obtain the views of local people on a strategic plan for the Mid-Anglia Cancer Network (MACN) has just begun, with the aim of setting an overall scheme for treating less common cancers such as gullet and stomach cancer, urological cancer and head and neck cancer.

MEMBERS of the public are being asked for their opinions to help with the fight against cancer in Suffolk and north Essex.

An informal consultation to obtain the views of local people on a strategic plan for the Mid-Anglia Cancer Network (MACN) has just begun, with the aim of setting an overall scheme for treating less common cancers such as gullet and stomach cancer, urological cancer and head and neck cancer.

The process is being undertaken jointly by Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and Essex SHA and will end on June 27.

The move towards a strategic plan for the MACN arose after difficulties were encountered in deciding where to site a centre for the surgical treatment of urological cancers.


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After a detailed bidding process and extensive public consultation both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals were strong contenders and the decision-making process was contested.

It is hoped that the agreement of a strategy will avoid similar difficulties in the future.

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Dr Tony Jewell, clinical director and director of public health at the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA, said: "Local people with less common cancers need access to the best clinical care available.

"By embarking on this consultation process, we will be ensuring that the final strategic plan reflects the real needs of local patients and provides the best framework to deliver excellent care."

Both SHAs are proposing that there are centres in more than one hospital, with specialist surgery distributed between sites, providing a gynaecological cancer service in Ipswich, urology in Colchester and head and neck and upper gastrointestinal in Chelmsford.

However there will be a chance for members of the public to discuss other approaches including a proposal for a single centre for MACN where all treatment would be provided in the same place.

A formal consultation lasting 14 weeks will run from August 1 to November 7 2005.

For more information visit www.nscstha.nhs.uk

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