MP to give public say over heart care

RESIDENTS in Suffolk are to be given their chance to comment on the removal of emergency cardiac treatment from Ipswich Hospital, even though health bosses have refused to hold public consultation on the controversial proposals.

Graham Dines

RESIDENTS in Suffolk are to be given their chance to comment on the removal of emergency cardiac treatment from Ipswich Hospital, even though health bosses have refused to hold public consultation on the controversial proposals.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer is holding four meetings to allow residents a say to tell the strategic health authority what they think of concentrating facilities at just three hospitals - the Norfolk & Norwich, Papworth in Cambridgeshire, and Basildon in Essex.

Mr Gummer said: “There is absolutely no democratic input into what the health authority is proposing. People in Suffolk deserve better than this and if SHA won't ask the public for their opinions, then I jolly well will.”


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The meetings will be held at Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Aldeburgh and Southwold within the next two weeks. “I will do my best to present the case as fairly as possible and I hope that the SHA will be represented - if it has as good a case as it claims to have, then it should not be afraid of standing up in front of residents and defending it.”

Mr Gummer was told in the Commons two weeks ago that the SHA had a duty to consult on its proposals, but the political moratorium surrounding the county council elections has meant that that has not happened.

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Last month Mr Gummer said it was a matter of urgency that the issue be scrutinised properly as part of a public consultation, calling the affair “an amazingly badly run operation.”

In a letter to health minister, Ben Bradshaw, he demanded proposals be put on hold until a full consultation has taken place, insisting on an “urgent investigation” into the health service in the region.

Mr Bradshaw had told Mr Gummer in the House of Commons that any proposed service change by a hospital or primary care trust was subject to a “robust and formal consultation process”.

In response, Mr Gummer wrote: “You suggested that my constituents have every opportunity to complain about service changes. That is not true.”

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