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Cromer cancer clinic switched to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:07 22 October 2010

RICHARD BATSON

A monthly cancer clinic at Cromer Hospital is being switched to Norwich because health chiefs say it is better for patients. Patients have aired concerns about the closure of the facility in north Norfolk, meaning 50-mile round trips for check-ups.

A monthly cancer clinic at Cromer Hospital is being switched to Norwich because health chiefs say it is better for patients.

Patients have aired concerns about the closure of the facility in north Norfolk, meaning 50-mile round trips for check-ups.

The oncology sessions are a 50-minute clinic handling nine people, and health officials say the Colney Centre - one of two specialised cancer centres in the region - is better for patients.

Norfolk and Norwich University Trust spokesman Andrew Stronach said the Cromer clinic “simply isn't the best environment for cancer patients, nor is it the best use of consultant time.”

The Colney unit also had the added benefit of access to the new Big C cancer information centre.

Mundesley pensioner Pat Jones, 76, who had her breast cancer diagnosis and operation 1993, and subsequent check-ups all at Cromer, said the move was a backward step, especially for elderly people who were feeling ill and “don't want to troop up to Norwich.”

There could be threats to beds at the Cromer hospital, admitted North Norfolk Primary Care Trust chief executive Diana Clarke.

She told a meeting of North Norfolk District Council there would be bed closures because of “current financial difficulties.”

Mr Stronach said officials were having to “consider a range of options across all of the trust's services on all of its sites.”

He added: “In the case of Cromer there are discussions regarding whether or not it is viable to have the 12 in-patient beds. At this stage it is only a discussion and nothing more than that.

“Should we decide it is something we need to pursue, we will formally consult both with our staff and the wider public.”

Mrs Clarke also told councillors that officials were still hoping to get the planned Cromer hospital rebuild agreed before the PCT ended its life in October to be replaced by a new Norfolk-wide one.

Councillor Sue Arnold said local people were dismayed at the state of the national and local health service - and concerned about delays with the Cromer project.

“Three years ago we were told everything was virtually ready to go with a £16m hospital. Now it has gone up to £25m but we are no further forward.

“Will we ever see the hospital we want? Why can't you rationalise the current site rather than hold out for a state of the art one.”

Mrs Clarke said it was a “valid point” and an option being explored if other out-of-town sites fell through.

A site off the Norwich Road remained the preferred one, because it lent itself to a better-designed hospital.

She said officials shared the public frustrations, and there had been “grief” over the Cromer plan, including the need to ensure the scheme matched a new health White Paper, and kept below a £25m threshold enabling it to be approved at regional rather than national level.


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