HEALTH officials were inundated with more than 6,000 responses calling for specialist artery surgeons to stay in Portsmouth, it has been revealed.
Feedback from a six-week engagement process revealed the depth of feeling from the Portsmouth area.
Altogether 6,184 people signed our Keep it at QA letter, which opposes plans to move vascular surgeons out of Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, to Southampton.
Now pressure is mounting for a date to be announced for a full three-month consultation to be held.
Syd Rapson is a member of a council of governors for the city’s super-hospital and chairman of a sub-committee of governors looking into the issue.
He said: ‘I’m still not convinced we will be given the consultation. We’re still waiting for them to say when it will be held. But without The News we wouldn’t be at this stage.
‘The response it generated with its campaign is amazing, especially as it isn’t an issue that affects everyone and deals with very complicated matters.’
Changes to vascular surgery services are being made by the primary care trust cluster Ship, which covers Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.
Three options have been presented. One is to move surgery to Southampton, the second to split services between the two cities, and a third looks at Portsmouth and Chichester hospitals sharing.
As The News reported yesterday, a health panel explored the second and third options and favoured a share between Portsmouth and Southampton.
‘It appears the ideas still seem to be pursuing the same plan,’ added Mr Rapson.
‘While it’s good vascular surgeons will be in Portsmouth for planned operations, the problem comes in when there’s an emergency.
‘Vascular surgeons are like an insurance policy for other highly-skilled surgeons, who perform a range of operations. They have said they feel better carrying out procedures, knowing a vascular surgeon is on hand.
‘Without the insurance policy of them being there, surgeons would feel more exposed to dangers and may well have the patients sent elsewhere.’