Mountain of letters over threat to Queen Alexandra Hospital goes in the post

PETITION Reporter Priya Mistry with the letters of protest.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (113429-5)
PETITION Reporter Priya Mistry with the letters of protest. Picture: Paul Jacobs (113429-5)

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SPARE a thought for the postman – we’ve sent a mountain of mail off to health officials protesting at proposals to remove vital surgeons from Queen Alexandra Hospital.

We’ve passed on hundreds of letters from readers who want to keep vascular surgeons – vein experts – at the Portsmouth hospital.

It comes as a six-week engagement process looking at the future of how vascular surgery is delivered in the area is due to close tomorrow.

The News’ Keep It at QA campaign calls for a full three-month consultation to be held on the future of the surgeons, who could be moved to Southampton General Hospital.

The engagement process is looking at the way stroke and major trauma services are carried out.

Health officials at the collection of primary care trusts called Ship – covering Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth – have already agreed to a consultation, following mounting pressure from the public.

The PCT cluster will look through the letters to help gauge feedback from the public.

Ship nursing director Sarah Elliott said: ‘We’ve received an encouraging response to the engagement phase on our proposals for stroke, major trauma and vascular surgery.

‘I’d like to thank all those who have taken the time to give us their views so far.

‘Once the engagement period closes tomorrow, we will examine all the responses received and compile a report on the feedback, which will be publicly available.

‘Having considered the feedback these views will be used to help develop formal proposals on vascular surgery which will be subject to formal public consultation later in the autumn.’

The trust is expected to develop three options under the consultation.

The first would see emergency and planned complex vascular surgery being carried out at Southampton General Hospital, but a vascular service would be retained at QA.

Portsmouth residents who need certain types of vascular surgery would be taken to Southampton, but vascular surgeons at QA would still be doing initial assessments, treating day cases and supporting other planned operations.

The second option would mean vascular surgeons at QA would cover the Portsmouth and Chichester areas.

The third choice would see surgery shared between Portsmouth and Southampton.