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7 February 2012, 05:42
Ipswich Hospital's bid to open a new treatment centre for heart patients has come a step closer.
It could be getting a £5million windfall from the Department of Health.
The cardiac treatment centre, which could open as soon as next year, will mean patients needing planned angioplasty will no longer have to travel to a regional centre in either Norwich or Cambridge.
Hospital Medical Director Peter Donaldson said: "It is truly a landmark day for our hospital and the patients of east Suffolk. All the planning is in place for us to start work as soon as possible."
The hospital has been working on plans to open a cardiac facility since national heart tsar Professor Roger Boyle recommended in a report in 2010 that planned the treatment should be available at Ipswich. The treatment involves narrowed arteries being widened in patients at risk of having a heart attack.
Mr Donaldson said: "This announcement and commitment from the strategic health authority is most welcome news and we should be very thankful.
"It is a tribute to our Cardiology department and to their colleagues within the hospital, and to the unswerving support from patients, GPs, NHS Suffolk and the public and media, none of whom have ever doubted the wisdom of establishing this service in east Suffolk."
The funding follows a successful application by NHS Midlands and East to a Department of Health NHS Capital Projects Fund.
A business case will now go to NHS Midlands and East's board for approval.