Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 16:07 UK

Review ordered into cancer move

Patients could have to travel for hours for treatment in Plymouth

An urgent review has been ordered by the government into plans to move some cancer services from Cornwall to Devon.

The review follows complaints from patients and doctors, as well as concerns from county councillors.

Cornwall's Primary Care Trust (PCT) said upper gastro intestinal cancer patients had a better chance of survival if they went to Plymouth.

The PCT and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said they welcomed the review as a "helpful step".

The Department of Health's national cancer director, Professor Mike Richards, has ordered the review to see how the plans fit in with national guidelines.

If cancer care goes out of Cornwall today, is it going to be maternity tomorrow?
Joe McKenna, Health Initiative Cornwall

Critics said it was "vital" services were kept in the county and not moved to Derriford Hospital.

If the move did go ahead, some patients would face a two-hour journey from Truro to Plymouth for treatment, they said.

Joe McKenna, chairman of the Health Initiative Cornwall patient group, said of the proposals: "The fact is that the NHS is going down this road of 'one size fits all', and that's not a solution for Cornwall.

"If cancer care goes out of Cornwall today, is it going to be maternity tomorrow? And what's after that?"

The Cornwall PCT said: "The PCT and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust have been facilitating the arrangements for the review, which is being undertaken by two of the leading Upper GI surgeons in the country and is ongoing."

It said it welcomed the review "as a helpful step which will inform the consultation".

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