Panel of experts calls for vascular ops to stay at QA

The Queen Alexandra Hospital
The Queen Alexandra Hospital

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THERE’S hope some vascular surgery will stay in Portsmouth after an expert health panel favoured the option.

As reported previously, the primary care trust cluster Ship – made up of Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth – reviewed the way stroke, major trauma and vascular surgery is provided in the region.

Initial plans only had the option of all vascular surgeons moving from Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, to Southampton.

But now two more options have been added – one would see services shared between Portsmouth and Southampton, and the other between Portsmouth and Chichester.

The health panel, which was made up of specialists including independent vascular surgeons, cancer specialists and local commissioners, met to discuss these and have favoured keeping some services and QA, with major vascular surgery being done in Southampton.

The panel also concluded a share between Chichester and Portsmouth would only be viable in the short term as it does not meet the needs of national criteria.

A six-week engagement process finished in September, and the Ship board is due to report back its findings from the exercise today – although a launch date for the three-month consultation has not yet been decided.

Jock McLees, chairman of patient group Portsmouth Link, said there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

He said: ‘Questions like did they look at the geography and population of the south coast, because Southampton doesn’t make sense.

‘In Sussex there is a proposal to move vascular surgeons to Brighton.

‘This would leave patients in Chichester having to drive there, or driving past one of the most up-to-date hospitals in the country, to get to Southampton.

‘This is a small step in the right direction, but not far enough for us.

‘We want to have a date for the public consultation, and make sure Portsmouth patients have their views heard.’

Ship chief executive Debbie Fleming said: ‘We know outcomes for vascular surgery across the UK are not as good as they could be. So it’s important we now hear people’s views, and so we will be consulting on options for improving vascular services, before making any final decisions.’