Chief executive's fears for hospital

THE chief executive of Ipswich Hospital has spoken of his fears for the future of the hospital if pancreatic cancer surgery is scrapped.

Rebecca Lefort

THE chief executive of Ipswich Hospital has spoken of his fears for the future of the hospital if pancreatic cancer surgery is scrapped.

Andrew Reed told yesterday's meeting of the joint overview and scrutiny committee that plans to centralise the specialist surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge could risk destabilising Ipswich's highly-rated department.

Mr Reed's decision to criticise the proposed move came after two of his top consultants admitted they might leave if pancreatic cancer surgery, like head and neck cancer surgery last year, is moved away from Ipswich Hospital.

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“There is a real strength of hospital feeling and community feeling about the future of Ipswich Hospital,” said Mr Reed.

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“I personally believe we have a strong future. But I think we fear that the risk of losing pancreatic cancer surgery may mean the risk that some of our surgeons may decide to leave, and there is a future risk of whether we can recruit their replacements.

“We fear that other (procedures) will follow pancreatic cancer surgery because once you put it in a centre people may say other things might as well go there.

“There are a whole series of unintended consequences which really need to be looked at.”

Mr Reed added that he believed the case for making Ipswich Hospital the pancreatic cancer centre in the East, sending Cambridgeshire patients to Heath Road, had not been thoroughly looked at.

The meeting at Ipswich County Library yesterday gave councillors the chance to scrutinise the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group's plans to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates by creating one centre of excellence to serve Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

During the meeting pancreatic cancer survivor Pat Gardiner, 65, of Harleston in Norfolk, told of his fears for patients.

He said: “The actual eventual outcome of the proposals will lead to more deaths. You have just told a patient they've got an illness that will probably kill them and then you take them away from their families for treatment.”

Councillors from Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council and patient representatives also spoke out against carrying out all pancreatic cancer surgery in Cambridge.

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