WHEN we asked you to support our bid to keep vital surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital, we knew readers would react.
But we’ve been left astounded by the incredible response our Keep It at QA campaign has had from readers since we called for action on Saturday.
Our offices have been swamped with copies of our letter – published again on this page – which calls on health officials to trigger a full public consultation on proposals which could see vein experts move from Portsmouth to Southampton.
Our phones haven’t stopped ringing as more supporters call in to say they have sent the letter straight to the health authority.
And yesterday during our first public signing-up session at Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth, 100 shoppers put pen to paper in just three hours to back our campaign.
The incredible avalanche of support shows just how strongly people in the region covered by The News feel about the proposals, which city health leaders say could end up having a devastating effect on the QA ‘super hospital’ in Cosham.
Ken Thompson, a governor of the QA Trust, said: ‘At this stage it’s very commendable to see such level of support and I would ask for more people to respond.
‘We need to keep vascular surgery at the hospital so it can provide a wide range of operations and clinical services in a safe and effective manner for the local people.’
The News launched its campaign earlier this year as health officials announced proposals about the future of three services in the region – stroke, major trauma and vascular surgery.
The plans have been drawn up by a Primary Care Trust ‘cluster’ called Ship – which includes trusts from Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.
Three options have been drafted to change vascular surgery. The first would mean all emergency surgery being moved to Southampton.
The second option looks at QA providing emergency surgery for Portsmouth and Chichester, while a third sees Portsmouth retaining some vascular surgery.
A six-week ‘engagement process’, which ends on September 30, has been launched to gauge public opinion on the plans.
With 28 days left, we’re asking you to write to the PCT to ask for a full three-month public consultation, which would provide people with more detailed plans and more time to express their views.
Among the supporters of our campaign is retired clerk Janet Jones, 66, of The Hoe, Gosport. She said: ‘We need to keep the services here.
‘Not everybody can travel long distances. It’s not easy for everyone to get to Southampton.’