Patients worried

PUBLISHED: 13:50 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:30 15 June 2010

CANCER patients fear they will be forced to travel to Plymouth for treatment, following an announcement that upper gastro intestinal surgery is to be relocated there from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. A cancer patient from Seaton has contacted the

CANCER patients fear they will be forced to travel to Plymouth for treatment, following an announcement that upper gastro intestinal surgery is to be relocated there from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.A cancer patient from Seaton has contacted the Herald to express his fears.He has received a letter from the Exeter, Mid and East Devon Oesophagal Support Group, which is concerned that "patient choice is being ignored"."A lengthy journey to Plymouth is exhausting for patients who are receiving chemotherapy or requiring post-operative treatment," the letter says."Public transport may be the main means of attendance as the patient may not be able to drive."Devon Primary Care Trust has agreed to consultation, following intervention by the Devon Overview and Scrutiny Committee.Health chiefs in Plymouth, Torbay and Cornwall had previously decided the relocation could go ahead without consultation.It is understood by the Herald that the surgical team at Exeter is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence.The support group letter states: "An oesophagectomy is a life changing operation. The stomach is raised and rejoined to the oesophagus."Throat, digestive and swallowing problems are frequent following the operation."Great anxiety would be experienced by patients if separated by distance either from their medical team or their families.


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