Panel backs bid to keep vascular surgeons in city

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CITY leaders are backing Queen Alexandra Hospital’s bid to become a standalone centre for crucial vein surgery.

They have supported a plan by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which details how vascular surgeons could stay on at QA.

The plan could mean the hospital keeping the service, despite a review that had threatened to move it to Southampton.

The trust’s new proposal is due to be included in a three-month consultation that will help shape the way vascular surgery is delivered in the area.

Councillors sitting on Portsmouth City Council’s health overview and scrutiny panel yesterday welcomed the plan.

Vice chairman of the panel Councillor David Horne said: ‘We’ve come a long way, considering we started off that it would be going to Southampton and that’s it.

‘We were never given a reason but now we have options and so the consultation will be interesting.’

A review of vascular services was announced earlier this year by primary care trust cluster Ship – which covers Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.

Initially, there had been three options – one was to move all vascular services to Southampton, a second to share between Southampton and Portsmouth, while a third would see a share between Portsmouth and Chichester.

After a six-week engagement process that finished in September, the third option was ruled out as Chichester services will be amalgamated with Brighton.

Councillor Gwen Blackett, of Havant Borough Council, who sits on the panel, said: ‘No-one is going to travel to Brighton when they could go to QA.

‘When you look at the enormous area QA covers, you have to take that into consideration.

‘ Plus you have to look at the travel and transport expenses for people to visit.

‘If QA can stand alone then I won’t have any hesitation in backing it.

‘We have a wonderful hospital.’

The consultation is likely to be launched in mid-January next year, with the Ship board due to decide in spring.