Concerns over five-hour round trip to Southampton are raised at NHS consultation

Pauline Swan, the vascular programme manager with NHS England South Wessex, left, chats to Suzanne Pepper from The Gosport Older Persons Forum 

 
Picture: Malcolm Wells (160511-3201)
Pauline Swan, the vascular programme manager with NHS England South Wessex, left, chats to Suzanne Pepper from The Gosport Older Persons Forum Picture: Malcolm Wells (160511-3201)

READER’S LETTER: Will sugary diets effect life expectancy?

  • Critics are worried Southampton will be too far away
  • Supporters say the new centre of excellence for vascular surgery will be better for patients
1
Have your say

CONCERNS about a five-hour round trip to Southampton were raised at a consultation about moving vascular services.

Officials from NHS England South Wessex held a drop-in event at Thorngate Halls in Gosport.

And the people who went along were a tough crowd to convince that moving all major vascular operations from Queen Alexandra Hospital to Southampton was a good idea.

Under the plans, emergency or complex vascular surgery will move to a ‘centre of excellence’ in Southampton.

The move would affect about 300 operations a year.

Suzanne Pepper, chairwoman of Gosport Older Persons Forum, visited the consultation and told The News: ‘It is still not something I’m entirely in favour of.

‘However, we have to accept this is pretty much a done deal now.

‘They have identified the ward they are going to be using in Southampton.

‘They have already entered into discussions about building an operating theatre in Southampton.

‘My big concern, particularly for Gosport residents, is the fact that if you have to travel by public transport, it’s two-and-a-half hours each way to get to Southampton.

‘It’s expensive to park the car if you are going to visit there.

‘If you have to go to and from Southampton for pre-operation, post-operation appointments, let alone the operation, it’s a difficult and trying journey at a very stressful time for most people.’

She added: ‘We have had some reassurance from surgeons that the clinics at Gosport War Memorial Hospital will continue and that’s very good news.’

Jane Staffieri, 67, from Gosport, said: ‘I’m not in favour of this development at all.

‘I want to see good quality vascular services in both Southampton and QA.’

Carol Wood, communications and engagement manager for NHS England South Wessex, said the project was ‘about saving lives’ and it would reduce the need for open surgery.

She said: ‘You get more minimally invasive procedures when you get a centre of excellence which is better for the patients’ recovery. It’s two days in hospital rather than 10 days.’

She added that a ‘patient reference group’ would be set up to address people’s concerns.