PEOPLE have said they are not prepared to travel for more than an hour for major vascular surgery.
The comments were made at a series of public consultations held by NHS England Wessex on changes to vascular services in Portsmouth.
I am still not convinced about the time issue.Cllr Lynne Stagg
The service treats a range of conditions that affect the arteries from minor conditions, such as varicose veins to more complex and emergency treatments.
As previously reported in The News, NHS England, which pays for the service at Queen Alexandra Hospital, wants to make University Hospital Southampton into a hub where all major vascular surgery will be carried out.
It will affect about 300 operations at QA Hospital.
But people attending the consultation events in Portsmouth and Gosport said they would only be willing to travel for one hour rather than the possible one-and-a-half hour (using public transport) trip to Southampton.
A report produced from the consultations was presented to the Portsmouth health overview and scrutiny panel.
Panel member Councillor Lynne Stagg raised concerns on the distance between Portsmouth and Southampton.
She said: ‘I’m still not convinced about the time issue.
‘I know there are rare instances where the traffic is gridlocked – but when it is, it takes more time.
‘It’s a real concern of mine and people living in Portsmouth.’
But the panel was reassured by the representatives from NHS England Wessex who said people on the Isle of Wight had been using University Hospital Southampton for years and time was not an issue.
Dominic Hardy, director of commissioning operations, said: ‘We have been flying people from the Isle of Wight to Southampton for nearly 15 years and they do not see it as an issue.’
The report showed that for most people, the level of expertise was most important for future services. A specialised team being available 24/7 was also seen as important.
Panel member Councillor Leo Madden raised concerns over the number of people who took part in the consultation. In the report, it says 23 people went to the five consultations in Portsmouth, Gosport, Southampton, the Isle of Wight and Winchester, 63 took part in patient group discussions, 18 gave feedback on the phone or email and 31 filled in a questionnaire.