Concern over cancer op plan

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A patient support group is urging hospital bosses to think again over plans to move ear, nose and throat cancer surgery to Preston.

The Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Support Group says it is devastated by the news that operations for patients with these types of cancer will no longer be carried out at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Chris Curtis, a throat cancer survivor who set up the group, says it is bad news for patients and effectively means the closure of the ear, nose and throat cancer department at The Vic.

“You couldn’t get a better service than the current one if you paid. It’s first rate, the team is excellent.

“There have been bed shortages at Preston – they’ve had to turn people away.

“Parking at Preston is awful and expensive. Travelling to and from Preston when poorly is not nice. And you need friends and family around you when you’re in hospital.”

The group is writing to the hospital’s chief executive to request a public meeting, as it has vowed to fight the move.

In 2011/2012, 96 patients were referred to the service.

Pat Oliver, director of operations at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “In May, a cancer peer review was undertaken and in line with national Improving Outcomes Guidance, a decision was made for a number of head and neck cancer patients to receive surgical treatment from Royal Preston.

“We anticipate this to take effect from April 2014, but all pre- and post-operative care will still be available at Blackpool. We are mindful of concerns expressed by patients and are working with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to agree the best clinical pathway.”

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