Uncertainty continues on future of vascular surgery in Portsmouth

Uncertainty surrounds the future of vascular surgery in Portsmouth
Uncertainty surrounds the future of vascular surgery in Portsmouth

South Central Ambulance Service holding forum event

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UNCERTAINTY over the future location of specialist vein surgeons has prompted criticism from city leaders.

Vascular surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, have been working as part of a network with surgeons from Southampton since July this year.

At the time QA said this meant surgeons would stay in the area.

However it has become clear the option of centralising services to Southampton has still not been ruled out.

More complex vascular patients are currently being discussed between the two sites to see where a patient will be best served.

This model is to continue and a business case for this is being prepared.

However the Wessex Area Team, which pays for the service, said a business case for centralising the service is also being prepared. An update to Portsmouth City Council’s health overview and scrutiny panel (Hosp) was given by Wessex yesterday.

Alison Lorimer, vascular project director for Wessex, said: ‘We’re looking at the centralised model and the collaborative model, which will allow commissioners to make a good decision.

‘A draft document would be produced that we could bring back out to the Hosp to enlist views.

‘Locally we can only make a recommendation, but then the decision will go up to NHS England.’

Wessex said the draft document should be ready by January next year, a decision will be made by NHS England in March, and if changes need to be made, will start in April 2015.

But the ongoing situation has left leaders feeling disappointment at the uncertainty.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I’m deeply disappointed we are no further forward with an agreed strategy for vascular surgery to remain in Portsmouth.

‘Currently someone suffering from a mini-stroke in the city, or surrounding area, would head straight to QA.

‘If services moved to Southampton then an already life-threatening situation is made worse by a longer journey.’

And this view was shared with patient watchdog group Hampshire Healthwatch. Manager Steve Taylor said: ‘It’s disappointing there is this uncertainty, a network model would keep people happy, but we need to think of patients.’