Councillors air frustration over delays on vascular decision

Vascular surgery
Vascular surgery
  • Commissioners NHS England Wessex want Southampton to be a hub for the service
  • Money spent on discussions so far blasted as ‘shameful’
  • Business case won’t be ready until February next year
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THE amount of money spent on talks about whether vascular services should be moved from Portsmouth to Southampton has been described as ‘shameful’.

The comment was made by Councillor David Keast at Portsmouth City Council’s health, overview and scrutiny panel meeting.

I feel total shame on the amount of money being spent on this when it could be put to better use

Councillor David Keast

It comes after five years of the NHS saying vascular – specialist vein surgery – services would be better off centralised in Southampton.

Currently they are delivered at Southampton General Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.

Cllr Keast said: ‘We are still at stage one despite several years of talking about this.

‘I feel total shame on the amount of money being spent on this when it could be put to better use.

‘At the moment, we have both Portsmouth and Southampton working together on this, but that could be completely reversed.’

According to a review by the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland, there are not enough vascular surgeons at QA for it to be a hub for the specialism.

The information was fed back to NHS England Wessex, which pays for the service.

Its medical director Dr Liz Mearns said plans were being considered and she wanted to reassure people services such as renal and cancer at QA would be protected should some vascular surgery move.

The report found ‘a range of issues at both hospitals that need addressing to ensure high quality sustainable services in the future’.

It added change was needed to ensure services complied with the standards set by the society and to provide seven-day cover.

The report went on to say the ‘best way of securing resilient services would be the creation of a southern Hampshire network of vascular services with Southampton as the single hub’.

Issues identified at Southampton include space to take on extra patients, thought to be a few hundred each year.

Southampton would need to look at theatre and bed space, as well as equipment and providing a haemodialysis hub for renal patients.

Cllr Mike Read said: ‘Southampton is a very congested site.

‘The car park is appalling, and to me it’s logical for Portsmouth to have it.

‘Because of all this uncertainty over the service it must be hard to recruit.’

Wessex said it would present proposals for the service next February.