PATIENTS who received life-changing surgery at Queen Alexandra Hospital have demanded their voices be heard in our campaign to save its surgeons.
With just 32 days left before the decision about whether to move the vein experts out of the hospital is taken, two people who have seen its vital benefits up close have spoken out.
The region’s Strategic Health Authority, NHS South Central, has not launched a formal consultation on its plan to transfer the surgeons to Southampton General Hospital.
But former patient Gordon Clark told The News if the vascular unit had been any further away when he suffered a ruptured blood vessel in his heart he would not have survived.
‘It was only because they got me into surgery quickly that I’m still here,’ said the 89-year-old from Elm Grove, Southsea.
‘By the time I got up to QA my aorta had burst and if Dr Payne hadn’t operated on me right there and then I would have died.
‘I would never have made it to Southampton or Fareham, so I think moving the surgeons away is a terrible idea.
‘They took brilliant care of me and I owe them my life. They should stay here in Portsmouth.’
Tom Kish received pioneering surgery on his neck at the hospital – in which he was awake during the operation – and agreed that the vein experts should not be moved to Southampton.
‘Even the surgeons don’t want to move,’ said the 64-year-old from Eastney Road, Eastney. ‘The ones who operated on me said they were needed in Portsmouth.
‘This is a big catchment area and who knows how long I would have waited if we all had to go to Southampton.
‘I will be writing to NHS South Central to ask them to reconsider and I would urge other former patients to do the same.
‘It seems like they’ve made up their minds but hopefully there is still time to keep the surgeons here.’
The health authority is conducting a six-week engagement process and if enough people write in using the letter published on this page before Friday, September 30, there is hope that the authority will agree to launch a three-month consultation.
The News will hold the first of a series of sessions where people can sign our letter at Cascades Shopping Centre, in Portsmouth city centre, from 11am to 2pm on Thursday.