Council launches new inquiry into vascular changes

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COUNCILLORS have voiced their concerns over proposed changes to vascular surgery at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Gosport Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee has launched its own investigation into proposals which could see specialist surgeons transferred to Southampton.

Members of the committee have heard fears that the extra time required to travel the further distance to Southampton could seriously jeopardise the health of those needing emergency treatment.

Independent Liberal Democrat Cllr Bob Forder, the chairman of the council’s committee, said: ‘Our residents were worried about getting from Gosport to Portsmouth in an emergency when Haslar closed but we were told with an improved ambulance service and a new superhospital there would be no problem.

‘We have supported them through the development and relocation from Haslar to QA, so to say that residents must now travel even further afield for vascular surgery is worrying.’

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 from QA in Cosham to Southampton, the second to split services between the two cities, and a third looks at Portsmouth and Chichester hospitals sharing.

Cllr Forder added: ‘We already know the financial problems QA is facing. Since becoming a superhospital we have seen ward closures and staff reductions made in order to meet the crippling payments of the PFI.

‘To then lose money from the vast number of procedures transferring to Southampton can only add to that financial burden which, in the long term, could result in the loss of even more services at QA.’

The council’s committee is now arranging meetings with officials from the primary care trust behind the plans.

They will also meet with clinicians to discuss the proposed changes and what they mean for people in the town.

The trust is carrying out a six-week discussion period after a campaign led by The News.