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Plans to centralise breast cancer care blasted

PUBLISHED: 12:04 26 September 2010

PLANS to make King George Hospital a hub for breast cancer care in north east London have been slammed by women who have fought the disease.

Under proposals developed by hospital bosses, breast cancer surgery carried out at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, will be moved to King George in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

Pre-surgery procedures carried out at Victoria Hospital, Romford, will also be moved to King George under plans set to cost Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust up to £250,000.

It would see King George become a “centre of excellence” for breast cancer care.

But the plans have been heavily criticised by former breast cancer patients, who have formed The Breast Cancer SOS Group in response to the proposed amalgamation of services.

Group chairman Angela Chapman, 41, said: “King George is full to capacity and I don’t see how it’s going to manage. It’s totally alarming.”

The mum-of-two, of Hornchurch, added: “We are also unhappy at the lack of public consultation. The process is being done in a very sly and underhanded way.”

Under the plans put before a Joint Overview and Scrutiny committee held at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, on Tuesday, the two breast cancer surgeons based at Queen’s would be transferred to King George to join its team of three consultants.

Sylvia Bruton, 46, of Fairlop Road, Barkingside, battled cancer in 2008.

She said: “These plans need a lot of work before I’d support them.

“I need to be convinced that King George will get the right investment to meet the greater strain it will bear.”

Dr Ian Abbs, trust medical director, said: “We want to ensure patients with symptoms of breast cancer get the best possible care, meaning both their clinical outcomes and their experience of our services.

“It is also important that routine breast screening is available close to people’s homes, and our plans for breast surgery will not affect this.”

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