We’re giving you a chance to have your say – take it

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Have your say

We asked readers to respond to proposals to move vascular surgeons out of Portsmouth – and you haven’t let us down.

The strength of feeling surrounding this issue is now clear for all to see because our phones have been ringing off the hook.

On Saturday, we revealed how NHS South Central had decided not to launch a formal consultation on its plan to transfer the vascular experts from Queen Alexandra Hospital to Southampton.

Instead, the strategic health authority was planning to conduct a six-week engagement process, but many were concerned that this would not reach out to the public.

Determined to make sure that your voices don’t go unheard, you’ve been signing our open letter to urge them to think again. And many of you have phoned in to say why you’d be against such a move.

QA Hospital is very lucky to have such a highly-skilled team of vascular surgeons to call on.

Their expertise has been invaluable to many of you who have suffered from vein problems such as damaged or ruptured blood vessels. And of course, these surgeons also play a vital role across other hospital departments, with cancer sufferers and children benefiting from their life-saving work.

Moving surgeons to a different hospital could put lives at risk and that’s why we believe it’s vital that this issue is looked at again.

We know that the inner workings of strategic health authorities are a mystery to many people.

When you, or someone you love is sick, you rely on the NHS to do its best. Questions about funding and resources are the last things on your mind.

But NHS South Central has a duty to reach out to people properly. It must ensure that the public knows what’s going on and is confident that their comments will be heard.

On today’s page 15 we print the open letter again and urge as many of you as possible to take action now. By standing up to be counted you could force a re-think on consultation and that could be the starting point for change.