THE abandoned plan to move vital vein surgeons from Portsmouth has cost taxpayers at least £22,000, The News can reveal.
Strategic health authority NHS South Central drew up a review of the way major trauma, vascular and stroke services should be delivered in south-east Hampshire.
As part of that, vascular surgeons from Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham faced being moved to Southampton.
The authority spent £20,134 to employ one dedicated member of staff to plan and deliver vascular information.
The primary care trust cluster Ship, which covers Portsmouth, then spent £2,065 preparing for a consultation that was dropped at the last minute. Ship said it did not keep time sheets for members of staff who worked on the review as part of their daily work.
Syd Rapson, who is a member of the board of governors at QA, believes the money could have been better spent if Ship had been more open about the process.
He said: ‘Had it carried out the process in the correct manner the money would have been better spent.
‘Instead of holding an engagement process, it should have gone out to consultation – then that would have been money well spent.
‘At the moment the matter was partially resolved with very little public views.
‘The money has been spent for nothing and we got absolutely nowhere other than airing out differences between Portsmouth and Southampton.
‘It’s money that could have been spent on patients and at a time of austerity they need to spend their money well.
‘I’m not against public consultations, but they need to be done openly and correctly in the first place.’
Ship defended the expenditure as a small fraction of its entire £3.1bn funding.
Sarah Elliott, director of nursing for Ship, said: ‘The local views gained during the engagement exercise were invaluable. They were carefully recorded and will still be used to shape future commissioning intentions.
‘Following the engagement period, the PCT planned to go out to formal consultation on proposed changes. As a result we began to prepare by booking venues and some advertising.
‘Once the decision was made for services to be unchanged we cancelled bookings but did incur some unavoidable charges of £2,065.’