‘Vascular loss could affect other services’

FEARS Bob Forder is worried about the possibility of losing vascular surgeons from QA
FEARS Bob Forder is worried about the possibility of losing vascular surgeons from QA
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A GOSPORT councillor and older people’s champion is worried that if vascular services are lost in Portsmouth, then other services will be affected.

Councillor Bob Forder, of Gosport Borough Council, believes losing the specialist vein surgery will cause wider problems for Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

He said: ‘When the Royal Haslar Hospital closed, Gosport residents were promised a “world-class, super-hospital at QA”.

‘When Gosport councillors first became aware of proposals to restructure vascular surgical services, the council referred the issue to its scrutiny committee for investigation.

‘The proposals envisaged a much smaller vascular surgery department at QA with an expansion at Southampton.

‘We discovered vascular surgery was not only a life-saver, but underpinned specialisms such as renal, cancer, diabetes and stroke.

‘Some of these are particular QA strengths; in some cases it is a national centre.

‘What worried us, was that these specialisms would be put in jeopardy damaging our super-hospital.

‘The resultant loss of business would accelerate a process of degradation.’

As reported, the future of vascular surgery in QA, is once again under threat.

The newly-formed commissioning body the Wessex Area Team believes Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, does not meet the requirements to keep providing vascular services.

At the moment, both Southampton and Portsmouth carry out vascular surgery.

‘NHS bosses abandoned their proposals a few months ago, but they have now re-emerged virtually unchanged,’ added Cllr Forder.

‘In her letter Debbie Fleming, area director of the Wessex Area Team, repeats all the old discredited arguments.

‘We are told the QA department is too small, despite its record of success.

‘Worse, it seems clear that this time around the proposals are to be steam-rollered through using the excuse that new national standards must be applied by October 1.’