A DATE to launch a consultation to determine how vascular surgery is carried out in the area is imminent, according to health chiefs.
It is thought letters for the estimated 40-page document will be issued this week, before being made public.
The consultation will ask people’s opinions on different models of how the service will be implemented.
Initial plans were for all vascular surgeons – specialist artery experts – to move from Queen Alexandra Hospital to Southampton.
A second and third option saw surgeons being shared between either QA and Southampton or Chichester.
The plans were announced by primary care trust cluster Ship, which covers Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.
The fear of losing these surgeons sparked The News’ Keep it at QA campaign.
During a six-week engagement process last year thousands of people wrote in to support surgeons staying in Portsmouth.
It prompted Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust to draw up plans to create a new ‘vascular centre’ for the hospital in Cosham, which would serve Portsmouth, south-east Hampshire and Chichester.
The option is being reviewed by an independent panel of clinicians, and it’s thought that once this has taken place a date will be given for the consultation launch.
Jock McLees, a member of patient support group Portsmouth Link said that a change in attitude from Ship was welcoming.
He said ‘The good thing is it seems the strategic health authority and Ship cluster have definitely changed their position from their original one. I believe they are listening to people’s views.
‘If Portsmouth loses its vascular services, we are left with either going to Southampton or Brighton.
‘The people we have living on the south coast live on peninsulas.
‘You have Gosport, Portsmouth and Hayling Island, all of which don’t have a main thoroughfare.
‘We are keen for a consultation date to be given now.’
Sarah Elliott, director of nursing for the Ship PCT Cluster said: ‘To ensure the best possible service for local people, and as with other proposals submitted, it was important to test it clinically and financially. As part of this process an independent panel of expert clinicians has now reviewed the clinical viability of the proposal and the outcome will be used to inform the analysis of the options.’