Vein surgeons could be shared after all

File photo of an operation taking place
File photo of an operation taking place

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NINE months after victory was declared in keeping expert vein surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital, the service could still be shared with Southampton.

At a recent meeting between representatives from the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) and the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHSFT), agreements were made to share elements of the vascular service between the two.

Ship, the primary care trust cluster that covers Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, had initially intended to move all vascular surgeons to Southampton General Hospital.

But following The News’ Keep it at QA campaign, which was backed by thousands of readers, they backed down in February this year, and agreed the surgeons would stay at the Cosham hospital.

However, it now looks as if a shared rota will be drawn up, after concerns were raised by consultants on both sides.

The meeting was called after Ship voiced worries about PHT failing to employ a sixth vascular surgeon, which it needed to do to comply with the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland’s standards.

A letter by Debbie Fleming, chief executive of Ship, said: ‘We have been informed that there was an honest exchange during the meeting regarding the concerns held by teams from both trusts.’

Syd Rapson, senior governor for QA, said: ‘I have written to Ursula Ward, the trust’s chief executive, to find out what they think about these proposals.

‘This is something that the clinicians have to resolve – the people who actually carry out the operations.

‘I wasn’t at that meeting, but my concern is that they were forced to accept something they didn’t want to.

‘If the trust accepts it and say: “We are happy with this,” then we will accept it. But if they say they are not, we are quite happy to pick up the cudgels and start campaigning again.

‘It is about what’s best for the patients, not for all the politics.’

No-one was available from PHT to comment.