Our surgeons must not be moved to Southampton

COMMENT: All agencies must to held to account for Anne Savidge’s tragic death

Have your say

Today we launch our ‘Keep it at QA’ campaign to stop regional NHS bosses moving vascular surgeons from Portsmouth to Southampton – and urge you to tell us how much their continuing presence in the city means to you.

Clinicians, GPs, health representatives, patient groups and the vascular surgeons themselves all say the move would be bad news for the hospital and its patients.

We agree. It’s not overstating the case to say that lives would be put at risk as a result.

Would Penny van Berkel, who needed the urgent expertise of a vascular surgeon to help repair damaged blood vessels after a car accident, be alive now if she had had to travel up the M27 for treatment? She doesn’t think so.

But health bosses from NHS South Central have made an interim decision that Southampton General Hospital should be the provider of a centralised service in the south of the region.

The QA receives about £4m a year for vascular surgery – which deals with the treatment of damaged and ruptured blood vessels.

If it lost that income, it would have an even more difficult job balancing the books given its commitments to paying off a big PFI bill and dealing with government-ordered cutbacks.

But it’s hard to put a figure on the value of having vascular surgeons based at the QA – and the knock-on effect if they go to Southampton.

A total of 350 patients who need vascular surgery each year would have to travel farther for surgery, much of which is emergency.

Then there are the many other patients who would be affected because vascular surgeons are called in to help with day-to-day work at the QA such as cancer surgery.

And what about the thousands of patients who are seen by vascular surgeons at community clinics in the Portsmouth area? If the surgeons get moved, that valuable service would stop.

A public consultation will begin in the summer, so we need to put together a dossier that sends a powerful message to NHS South Central. Please get in touch and add your voices to our campaign.