East Anglia: Specialist cancer service moves to Cambridge

CONTROVERSIAL plans to move pancreatic cancer services away from Ipswich Hospital and create a regional centre at Addenbrooke’s, in Cambridge, have now been implemented.

Last year campaigners tried to ensure the pancreatic service stayed in Ipswich – and there were hopes the town’s hospital could become the regional centre for the treatment of the relatively-rare disease.

However, the decision was taken to concentrate the service at Cambridge, and that move has now been completed.

Surgeons in Cambridge will now deal with pancreatic cancer patients from across Suffolk, north Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and most of Bedfordshire.

Patient representatives from across the region were invited by surgeon Raaj Praseedom to see the new pancreatic service at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

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Tony Godden, a patient representative from the Cancer Services User Group at Ipswich Hospital, said: “During the visit we saw the excellent facilities that Addenbrooke’s has to offer and I have no reservations about the treatment and care that pancreatic cancer surgical patients will receive.”

The Anglia Cancer Network is now producing an information pack which will cover transport, parking, overnight facilities for carers and families, as well as specific information for the pancreatic patient.

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Rory Harvey, medical director for the Anglia Cancer Network, said: “Last year we consulted widely over the proposed changes in services for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

“The reason behind the changes was the generally poor outcomes for this type of cancer and evidence that the likelihood of cure was increased by fewer surgeons performing more operations.”

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter had campaigned for the service to stay at Ipswich, but accepted that surgery had now moved down the road.

He said: “What is important now is that the follow-up treatment, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other treatment is kept at Ipswich.

“I have spoken to [Ipswich Hospital chief executive] Andrew Reed about that and there are hopeful signs that the tide may be turning as far as that is concerned.”

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