NHS officials in Portsmouth have staked their claim to keep surgery in the city in a bid to stop services being transferred to Southampton.
The city’s NHS trust has drawn up plans to create a new ‘vascular centre’ at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.
It comes as it was revealed there will be a three-month consultation into the future of surgical services from January, which sees the threat of surgeons being taken away from QA.
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It’s very important to make sure our city has a full range of surgeons to do lots of different surgeries.
‘We want to make sure as many different services are on offer at QA and for the surrounding area.’
A review of vascular surgery in the area was announced earlier this year by primary care trust cluster Ship – which covers Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.
Initial plans for all vascular surgeons – specialist artery experts – to move from QA to Southampton sparked The News’ Keep it at QA campaign and forced a consultation over the issue.
A second option was then drawn up to split services between the two cities.
Now Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has drawn up its own plans to keep vascular treatment at QA, for the populations of Portsmouth, south east Hampshire and Chichester.
The trust said investment will be needed for additional vascular consultant surgeons and radiologists, and in ‘a number of other areas’ to ensure they meet the NHS standards.
A letter from Ship chief executive Debbie Fleming confirmed it has received the trust’s proposals and that it was assessing their ‘viability’.
Mrs Fleming said it ‘represents a significant challenge for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust’.
‘However, given that they were keen to prove the viability of this model, we asked the trust to provide a detailed case for how they would meet the service specification,’ she said.
She said discussions will be taking place with GPs in the Chichester area and in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire to test their views on the proposal.
Graham Sutton, associate medical director of Portsmouth NHS Trust, said the proposals need to cover the population of Chichester and the edge of West Sussex in order for the service to be sustainable.
He said: ‘The obvious advantage of patients from Portsmouth, south Hampshire and west Sussex being able to come here is that they don’t have to travel as far as either Southampton or Brighton.’
Last month we revealed how a total of 6,184 people signed our Keep it at QA petition opposing vascular surgeons being moved out of QA.
A date for the consultation beginning in January has not been set.