MORE patients suffering from near-fatal injuries will be taken straight to Southampton – bypassing Portsmouth – in a new NHS drive.
Yesterday Southampton General Hospital was officially named the major trauma centre for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
This means people who have suffered life-threatening injuries will be taken straight to Southampton instead of Queen Alexandra Hospital – as long as the journey is within 45 minutes.
While the NHS admits it may take longer for people to get to hospital, it says the experts at Southampton will be able to provide more specialist care and could potentially see an increase of 25 per cent in patient survival.
This has caused concern for Councillor Peter Edgar, of Gosport Borough Council, who is also one of the governors of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA.
He says the Cosham hospital is not living up to the title of being a ‘superhospital’.
He said: ‘People are extremely worried about these plans. When Haslar was closed we were promised a superhospital that would be one of the best in the country.
‘We knew there would be certain specialisms at Southampton. But now patients will have to go past QA, which is a great hospital, and that seems ridiculous to me.’
But medical director Simon Holmes from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust says the announcement will have little impact on patients.
He said: ‘If someone has been involved in a major accident on the M27 they might have been brought to Portsmouth where they would be checked for major head or chest injuries.
‘If this was the case they would be transferred to Southampton because they have a neurological centre.
‘What happens now is that if the paramedics can see if you have a severe head injury, then instead of coming to Portsmouth first they will go straight to Southampton.
‘It’s all about getting the best patient outcome.
‘We don’t see that this change will afect us at all.’
On average two major trauma patients are seen each week.
‘The changes will impact on so few and I’m sure they’ll be grateful to go further for better treatment,’ added Mr Holmes.
Under the plans Queen Alexandra Hospital has become a major trauma unit, specialising in plastic surgery.
Mr Holmes added: ‘We have no aspirations to become a neurological centre, there’s always only been room for one, and that’s Southampton.
‘But we have a better plastic centre, so patients from Southampton would bypass their hospital to come here.’