PATIENTS from around Portsmouth will be expected to travel to Southampton for elective spinal surgery in the future, if proposals are approved.
It is likely the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham will no longer offer the service after a taskforce decided that only having one consultant on site was unsustainable and compromised the safety of patients.
Around 200 patients currently on the books will be affected by the change, with 176 from Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant who will have to travel to Southampton General Hospital instead.
The plans, that were heard at yesterday’s health scrutiny panel, were put together by the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Southampton NHS Foundation Trust alongside the CCGs for Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire. NHS England Specialised Services Wessex and the Solent Acute Alliance Board also had input.
In the group’s report it stated: ‘A single‐handed spinal surgeons should not be working in isolation. Wherever possible, spinal surgeons should work in teams within organisations, ideally with more than one surgeon in each site.’
Paul Bytheway, chief operating officer at the Portsmouth trust, said: ‘At this point we think the right thing to do is for our patients that require spinal surgery to go somewhere that can deliver.
‘Patients have said they understand the need for the change.’
Alex Berry, director of transformation for the South Eastern Hampshire CCG, added: ‘While the numbers of patients are big they are not significant.’
However, Councillor Philip Raffaelli, representing Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘It’s hard to say if numbers are significant or not but this is a significant change for the patients.’
The final decision on this will be made at a future Hampshire County Council meeting.