The timeline of the long-running vascular surgery saga for Portsmouth hospital

The future of vascular surgery at QA Hospital remains unclear
The future of vascular surgery at QA Hospital remains unclear

READER’S LETTER: Will sugary diets effect life expectancy?

1
Have your say

THE Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland found the country has a higher death rate due to vascular-related diseases than the rest of Europe.

n In its review published in 2010, it found bigger centres would be better at serving health needs.

n In response in April 2011, the now-defunct regional strategic authority South Central announced it had looked at this report and wanted to move the majority of vascular services to Southampton.

n In August of the same year the also defunct primary care trust cluster Ship, which covered Southampton and Portsmouth, drew up three options.

One was to move surgery from QA to Southampton, the second was to split services between the two cities, and a third looked at Portsmouth and Chichester hospitals sharing.

But South Central only wanted to carry out a six-week ‘engagement process’.

n In August 2011, The News launched one of its biggest health campaigns urging readers to ask for a full three-month consultation. More than 6,000 people signed our Keep It At QA letter, and in September 2011, Ship bowed down to pressure and promised a three-month consultation.

n In December 2011, QA announced plans to ‘go it alone’ and create a vascular centre at the Cosham site.

This would have formed one of two options due to go out to consultation in January 2012.

n But in a U-turn, in February 2012, Ship scrapped plans to make any changes.

n In April 2013, the NHS changed. NHS England, which has seven local bodies – Portsmouth and Southampton come under the Wessex Area Team – became the new commissioner.

Wessex felt QA still did not meet the criteria set, and four options were outlined, with the commissioners preferring the one that would have involved moving major complex arterial vascular surgical procedures to Southampton by December 2013, followed by all non-emergency patients.

After this a review would have looked to see if stroke and major amputation patients would also move to Southampton.

n In November 2013, and independent body called the Wessex Clinical Senate recommended vascular services should be delivered from one site and that should be Southampton.

n However in January 2014, Wessex said it would look favourably on a network model between Southampton and Portsmouth, so work would be shared across both sites.

n This started in July 2014, and it was felt vascular services in QA were safe.

n But in November last year Wessex said a plan for centralising the service in Southampton was still on the cards and a business case was being prepared.

n This document was supposed to be ready by January this year, a decision should have been made in March and the changes implemented in April.

n However in February, Wessex said the documents were not ready and wouldn’t be until March. But this deadline was also missed, after which Wessex said the business cases would be unveiled in June, after the general election had taken place.

n But four months on from this no business cases have been revealed.

n Wessex said it is now waiting on a report by the Vascular Society to be published, after it visited both QA and Southampton, after which a consultation will take place.