CITY leaders are backing the campaign to keep expert surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
NHS South Central, the region’s health authority, is considering moving vascular surgeons from QA to Southampton General Hospital.
Portsmouth City Council’s leaders have joined GPs, patients, and members of the public who are urging the authority to rethink the proposals.
The council’s leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It is important that people in Portsmouth are able to get access to good quality care close to home.
‘There may be arguments about the management of the area’s vascular surgeons, there may even be suggestions that they be managed as one unit. But it should not mean that surgeons stop operating in Portsmouth.
‘You need to be dealt with quickly and close to home. People almost always do better if they have lots of contact with family and friends while they are in hospital, and that will be much harder if the service moves away.
‘It is absolutely right that we should continue to do vascular surgery here in Portsmouth. There might be a discussion about how it is managed, but the services people rely on should be close to where they live.
‘Half a million people live in the greater Portsmouth area and that is a lot of people who need to get quality care of this sort.
‘It is important that it stays here and does not go to Southampton.’
Despite protests, NHS South Central has not launched a formal consultation on the proposed move.
Instead it is holding a six-week ‘engagement process’ which does not reach out for public views.
The leader of the council’s Conservative group, Cllr Simon Bosher, said: ‘Queen Alexandra serves a huge number of people across this area when you take into account Fareham and Waterlooville and the rest.
‘So it is important that a vital unit like that is kept serving the community of Portsmouth.
‘It should go out to a public consultation and it is a shame they are not taking into account the views of the public.
‘On an issue such as this, which really is life and death, they should listen to what the public is saying.’
The News has been asking readers to send in the letter published on this page to show how important vascular services are to people in our region.
If enough people write in before the engagement process ends on September 30, it is hoped the authority will bow to pressure to launch a formal consultation during which the public will be asked for their opinions.
We will be hosting a series of sessions in the area where people can sign our letter.
The first takes place at Cascades Shopping Centre, in Portsmouth city centre, from 11am to 2pm on Thursday.
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
RONALD Lynn, 72, of Cockleshell Gardens, Southsea, said: ‘People shouldn’t be asked to travel to Southampton.’
Morris Brown, 83, of Hill Park Road, Fareham, said: ‘The system is working so why change it?’
Elizabeth Osborne, 77, of Milton Road, Milton, said: ‘My husband Graham was rushed into QA with an aneurism and if they had taken him all the way to Southampton he would have died.’
James Champion, 83, of Home Farm Road, Gosport, said: ‘A lot of people rely on these surgeons and it’s important that we have them here.’
Jennifer Greenleaf, 60, of Copnor Road, Portsmouth, said: ‘Lives could be lost if these surgeons are moved.’
Diane Taylor, 67 and Andrew Taylor, 69, of St John’s Road, Portsmouth have written. Diane said: ‘It’s a disgrace.’