Anger as vascular surgery’s future in Portsmouth is still not decided

A decision has not yet been made about vascular surgery at QA
A decision has not yet been made about vascular surgery at QA

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COUNCILLORS have spoken of their anger as there are further delays in finding out whether specialist vein surgeons will wholly remain in Portsmouth.

Two business cases on how the future of vascular surgery along the south coast are still being drawn up.

Currently both Queen Alexandra Hospital and Southampton General Hospital provide the service.

The Wessex Area Team, which pays for the service, drew up one plan which would see services being centralised in Southampton, and another with it being shared between the two sites.

However at a Portsmouth City Council meeting Sue Davies, interim director of commissioning from Wessex, said that both plans required further work and would not be ready until March.

Wessex is working to meet national vascular specifications to improve mortality rates in England as it has some of the worst results in Europe – but these changes should have been put in place in October 2013.

Councillor Peter Edgar, who sits on the health, overview and scrutiny panel (Hosp), said: ‘There was a massive feeling when this came about a few years ago that everything will be moved to Southampton, so I’m surprised we are still talking about it now.

‘It’s good we are because it means QA still has a chance, but this has been going on for so long, which is so disappointing.

‘Clinicians from both hospitals are talking to each other and working together so the option to centralise in Southampton should be cancelled.’

Losing vascular surgeons could put pressure on other departments in QA, such as the renal team, which benefits from a vascular surgeon being present during procedures.

Councillor Gwen Blackett said: ‘We are very angry about this.

‘The renal team is one of the best at QA and that could be jeopardised.

‘The surgeons there are working well with Southampton, so I don’t see a need for change.’

Vascular surgeons at QA have been working in a network with Southampton since July last year, which will continue until the business models are completed.

Councillors on the Hosp have agreed that the proposal to move the majority of specialist vein surgery from Portsmouth to Southampton would be a significant change for the area.

This means a three-month public consultation would be undertaken, after which a decision would be made by Wessex and any changes implemented in October.