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Cancer patients WILL be able to have surgery in King’s Lynn after two U-turns

PUBLISHED: 11:30 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 07 December 2018

Dr Nick Lyons, interim chief executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL

Dr Nick Lyons, interim chief executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL

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Cancer surgery will still be carried out in King’s Lynn after doctors said proposals to move procedures to Norwich would be “unsafe”.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.  Picture: Ian BurtQueen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The idea had been mooted after the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) was judged as inadequate and concerns were raised over whether there were enough staff to allow procedures to go ahead.

The initial plans were branded a “travesty and disaster” before being dropped, but a leaked memo last month showed the plans were back on the table - prompting outrage from senior doctors who said the idea to send patients 40 miles to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was “crazy”.

Now, acting chief executive at the hospital, Dr Nick Lyons, said there were other options on the table “given the concern this proposal has caused patients and staff” and moving cancer surgery would not be viable.

It comes just two days after it was announced the hospital chief executive Jon Green would be seconded to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Dr Lyons said: “There was complete consensus that moving elective cancer surgery to Norwich for the period of winter could not be done safely and would not deliver the beds required.”

Instead, bosses will discuss creating a new assessment zone and a 23-hour surgery unit, which it is hoped will enable the hospital to run as much of its planned surgical programme as possible over winter while at the same time ensuring the safety and care of patients needing its services in an emergency.

Harald Geogloman, a consultant surgeon at the QEH, previously called a meeting of the Hospital Medical Staff Committee (HMSC) to discuss the concerns.

Then, he said doctors felt the plans did not make sense and that there was a better solution.

Ann Glover, regional organiser for Unison, welcomed the decision.

She said: “The people of King’s Lynn and the staff at the QEH hospital will breathe a sigh of relief to hear that elective surgery is to remain at the QEH. It makes sense to find solutions locally, not create other problems for the staff and patients by moving them 40 miles away.”

Options on how the QEH will proceed will be discussed at the trust’s next board meeting, on December 18.

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