Hospitals given a week to make surgeon deal

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NHS bosses have been given a week to reach a decision over how Portsmouth and Southampton could share specialist surgeons.

A three-month consultation to decide whether vein specialists will remain in the city or be shared with Southampton was due to start last week.

Now new details of what is holding up the launch have been revealed in a letter from Debbie Flemming, chief executive of Ship, a body made up of several local primary care trusts.

In it she said there are disagreements over one of the options which would involve splitting vascular surgeons between Southampton and Portsmouth, including how their rotas would work.

The other choice for the consultation was put together by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and involves keeping most of the surgeons in Portsmouth.

Queen Alexandra Hospital governor Syd Rapson said the ‘rota’ option – which would leave one surgeon at QA seven days a week and two five days a week – was not good enough.

He said: ‘The pressure is on them (Ship) now to compromise, because they don’t like the scrutiny they have come under.

‘I think we could reach a deal and avoid the public consultation, but if we don’t we will spend three months telling everybody why their option is ridiculous.

‘It would result in a reduced service for patients in this area and that is not acceptable.’

The consultation has been sparked after pressure from The News’ Keep it at QA campaign, which was launched last year to stop vascular surgeons from being moved to Southampton.

Mrs Flemming wrote: ‘We have come a long way from the original proposals to move all complex vascular operations to Southampton General Hospital, without any vascular surgeons remaining at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘However, before we start a public consultation, it is vital that the Trusts – and most importantly the vascular surgeons delivering the service – are in agreement as to how the new rotas would actually operate and which operations can be safely carried out at which sites.

‘It is these discussions that are taking longer than expected and resulted in the delay to the start of public consultation.’