Queen Alexandra Hospital confident vascular surgeons will stay

OPTIMISTIC Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Ursula Ward
OPTIMISTIC Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Ursula Ward
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THE chief executive of the trust that runs Queen Alexandra Hospital says she is confident vascular services will stay in Portsmouth.

The future of the specialist vein surgeons has been hanging in the balance for the last five years as the NHS nationally is restructuring services.

Since July last year, QA has been working in a network with vascular surgeons in Southampton, while the Wessex Area Team decides how the service should be delivered.

Speaking at a public meeting for the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Ursula Ward said: ‘I think common sense is starting to prevail and it’s likely a conclusion will be reached by May, which I think is reasonable.

‘The current arrangement we have with Southampton is working well and clinicians are talking to each other on a regular basis.

‘Patients are being discussed and the treatment given is the best for them – whether that’s here or going to Southampton. It’s a great way to work and others are seeing that now.’

Two business cases on how the future of vascular surgery along the south coast will look are still being drawn up.

Currently both QA and Southampton General Hospital provide the service.

The Wessex Area Team, which pays for the service, drew up one plan which would see services being centralised in Southampton, and another with it being shared between the two sites.

However at a Portsmouth City Council meeting Sue Davies, interim director of commissioning from Wessex, said that both plans would be revealed in May.

Wessex is working to meet national vascular specifications to improve mortality rates in England as it has some of the worst results in Europe – but these changes should have been put in place in October 2013.

Councillors on the city council’s health, overview, scrutiny panel have agreed the proposal to move the majority of vascular surgery from Portsmouth to Southampton would be a significant change for the area.

This means a three-month public consultation would be undertaken, after which a decision would be made by Wessex and any changes implemented in October.