Patients could travel up to 100 miles for hospital services
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Patients needing treatment for serious heart problems could have to travel up to 100 miles under proposals put forward for redesigning the region's health system.
Consultants brought in by health leaders in 2016 identified three areas where demand for hospital services was due to outstrip supply in coming years for bosses to focus on.
And those behind Norfolk and Waveney's health overhaul - known as the sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) - have chosen cardiology, radiology, and urology in a bid to ensure patients get the treatment they need.
Under proposals for how to treat patients in the three specialities, the county's busiest hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich, would act as the flagship hospital where all specialist work is done.
While the James Paget Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn would only carry out non-specialist work.
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But at a County Hall meeting yesterday concerns were raised over what this meant for patients.
Conservative councillor for Dersingham, Stuart Dark, told the Health and Wellbeing Board: 'At King's Lynn you can't get further from Norwich without getting wet. The concern I have got is what is the difference in level of service [...] because the journey is 50 miles one way, 100 miles round trip.'
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But Christine Allen, who is in charge of the hospital section of the STP, said where it was safe to do so care would be given closer to home.
Mrs Allen, who is also chief executive of JPH, said: 'I think the most important thing is where it is safe to do so services would be provided locally but for those services that require a tertiary centre we take cancer services as an example, there are services which would not be available at the James Paget or Queen Elizabeth, patients currently travel to the centre.'