Vascular services must be kept at QA Hospital

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When it comes to saving lives, time is of the essence.

Just a few minutes can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

So having vascular services on our doorstep at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham is something we lose to our detriment.

The argument from NHS officials, who are clearly experts in their field, points towards the fact that Southampton would be a centre of excellence, with more capacity and better treatment facilities.

The argument is powerful, perhaps when looking at it from a strategic level with limited resources.

But the general belief, as substantiated by Graham White today, is that having vascular services in Portsmouth, as well as Southampton, is vital.

The pensioner was lucky enough to be able to get treatment at Bournemouth eight years ago and since then many other patients have had similar tales of survival after being treated at Portsmouth.

Some 300 major operations which take place each year at QA would move to Southampton under the plan. That is an awful lot of patients and resources being moved westwards.

And if you live in somewhere like Eastney, Hayling or Emsworth, Southampton is a long trek away.

Full vascular services were obviously considered necessary at Portsmouth, otherwise they would not have been put there in the first place.

With almost 500,000 people living in the Portsmouth conurbation – and thousands more houses being built or planned – surely the sensible decision is to keep those vital services here.