Vascular surgery consultation hit with fresh delay

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THE long-awaited consultation to look at the future of vascular surgery in Portsmouth has been put back.

A document containing detailed plans of how the service could be run was due to be published on Monday.

It would have been the launch of a three-month consultation to determine whether specialist vein surgeons were to remain in the city or move to Southampton.

But now the primary care trust cluster Ship, which covers Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, says it needs more time to finalise the document. The whole process has been dubbed ‘a shambles’ by Syd Rapson, who is a member of the hospital’s council of governors.

He said: ‘The whole thing is a shambles.

‘Ship’s case to move everything to Southampton doesn’t hold up. I don’t think they can convince the expert clinicians.

‘It’s getting a better case to get to the public, otherwise they will see through the facade and support the case for the surgeons to stay at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘I’m disappointed the consultation has been delayed, but I’m not surprised considering the way it has been run so far.’

Initial plans had three options – the first to move all vascular surgeons to Southampton, while a second was to split them with either Southampton or Chichester.

Since then Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Cosham hospital, has put together a ‘stand-alone’ model keeping surgeons in Portsmouth.

These options will form part of a public consultation.

Ship cluster chief executive Debbie Fleming said: ‘Over the past two weeks, there has been a great deal of clinical discussion regarding the arrangements with a potential Portsmouth and Southampton network model.

‘We’ve received significant feedback on the emerging options from a number of stakeholders and need to reflect on this.

‘We have no option but to delay the consultation.’