NHS masterplan to save surgeons receives support

FIGHT There are plans to create a vascular centre at Queen Alexandra Hospital
FIGHT There are plans to create a vascular centre at Queen Alexandra Hospital

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PATIENTS and health experts have backed plans by Portsmouth’s NHS trust to keep specialist surgeons in the city.

A new ‘vascular centre’ is being proposed at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, as revealed in The News on Saturday.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has drawn up the masterplan in a bid to stop vascular surgeons – artery experts – from being shipped over to Southampton. The centre would cover the populations of Portsmouth, south east Hampshire and Chichester.

Terry Carter, acting chairman of Portsmouth Local Involvement Network (Link), which represents patients, said using QA as a specialist centre ‘adds up.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock added: ‘I wholeheartedly welcome this. It’s great news. Anything that takes the best interests of the potential patient in the greater Portsmouth area into account is what we have been supporting.’

There will be a three-month consultation into the future of surgical services from January, which sees the threat of surgeons being taken away from QA.

One option being considered by primary care trust cluster Ship – which covers Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth – is for all vascular surgeons to move from QA to Southampton. A second option is to split services between the two cities. The third is Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s ‘vascular centre’ plan.

Sam Saddler, a pensioner from Orkney Road, opposite QA, blamed health managers for trying to move surgeons out of QA, adding: ‘The proposal to move surgeons to Southampton has come from people in the background, not the troops on the frontline. The feeling is that it’s just for some manager’s CV, so he can say “I moved all vascular services to Southampton”.’

Dr Alice Emerson, of the Waverley Road Surgery, backed the city trust’s plans, saying: ‘My view is that patients should be able to have choice, but from my experiences in Southsea, I know that what people really want are good local services.’

Portsmouth city councillor Peter Eddis, added: ‘What should happen is that the residents of West Sussex logistically should come to QA because it’s a much shorter distance than going to Brighton and makes absolute sense.’