Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 13:41 UK

Watchdogs oppose surgery switch

Doctors want services within reach of local people

Health watchdogs have opposed plans to move some cancer services from the Royal Cornwall Hospital to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

The Cornwall County Council committee responsible for overseeing the work of the NHS voted for a full public consultation over the proposed changes.

Cornwall Primary Care Trust (PCT) says moving some abdominal surgery could increase patients' life expectancy.

But doctors at the Royal Cornwall have lobbied councillors against the plan.

The doctors say it is vital to keep upper gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer surgery and complex gynaecological cancer services in the county rather than make patients travel to Derriford.

Councillors in Cornwall have intervened

Earlier this month Peter Davies, chairman of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals' NHS Trust resigned in protest at the plans.

Eric Parkin, chairman of the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee said: "I feel that the information provided by the PCT has been focused upon the clinical case for this service reconfiguration rather than the affect on patients, patient pathways, local services and the longer term strategic direction of specialist services in Cornwall."

The PCT said survival rates were higher when services were centralised and there were other specialists around when treatments were done in bigger centres.

Spokeswoman Ann James said after the council commitee's decision: "We need to consider what it means for services.

"What has not changed is the unequivocal clinical case for moving these services and giving patients a better chance of survival."

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said Derriford Hospital had the infrastructure to offer patients excellent care.

Doctors join cancer switch battle
14 Jul 08 |  Cornwall
Health chief resigns in protest
11 Jul 08 |  Cornwall
Surgery survival better in Devon
21 Apr 08 |  Cornwall
Call for cancer surgery rethink
21 Mar 08 |  Cornwall

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