THE chairwoman of the panel that oversees healthcare in Portsmouth has branded plans to move expert surgeons from Queen Alexandra Hospital as ‘complete madness’.
Portsmouth councillor Lynne Stagg, chairwoman of the city’s health overview and scrutiny panel, is outraged at proposals to transfer vascular surgeons from QA 20 miles down the road to Southampton General Hospital.
Cllr Stagg said: ‘This is absolutely not the right move at all to move these surgeons out of QA. It’s complete madness.
‘It’s another example of them trying to centralise care, just like they’re trying to do with the children’s cardiac unit at Southampton.
‘They must be doing it to save money.’
She added: ‘I will definitely be backing the campaign to keep the surgeons at QA.’
As The News reported yesterday, NHS South Central – the region’s health authority – has proposed moving the surgeons from QA following a review by the Vascular Society of Great Britain. The society believes care should be reconfigured and centralised.
But doctors and patient groups have raised concerns because vascular surgeons – who repair damaged blood vessels – are involved in a lot of the day-to-day work at the hospital, such as cancer surgery and surgery on diabetics.
Cllr Stagg: ‘This plan is particularly worrying because of the surgery vascular surgeons can be involved in.
‘Portsmouth has a high incidence of things like diabetes, cancer and coronary problems. Lots of people could need vascular surgery.
‘We don’t want them having to travel down the road to Southampton, especially if it’s an emergency. The M27 can be a nightmare.’
NHS South Central will have the ultimate say over whether or not the plan will go ahead.
Officials are set to speak to Portsmouth City Council’s health overview and scrutiny panel at the group’s next meeting in June.
Cllr Stagg said: ‘We will make it very clear that we are opposed to the plan and put pressure on them to keep the surgeons at QA.’
A public consultation is set to begin in the near future.