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Changes to Vascular Surgery in Southern Hampshire

On 3 April 2017, all major arterial surgery will move from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) to University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust (UHS). 

This means that patients requiring this surgery will now be treated at Southampton General Hospital rather than the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, where they will have access to a specialist vascular team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Patients will only be asked to travel where there is clear evidence of benefit in doing so – namely for complex procedures.  Other services will continue to be delivered locally, with patients receiving their pre-operative care and follow-ups at the Queen Alexandra Hospital to reduce the need to travel.

Vascular surgeons will continue to offer day surgery at Queen Alexandra Hospital (such as for varicose veins) and run outpatient clinics from Portsmouth, Gosport, Havent & Fareham Hospitals, including diabetic foot clinics.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening continues to be provided as before.  There is no change to this service.

With vascular surgery moving to Southampton General Hospital, this completes the Southern Hampshire Vascular Network - creating a world class centre for vascular services for people throughout the region.  The network comprises UHS as the main arterial centre, and PHT, The Isle of Wight NHS Trust (based at St Mary’s Hospital) and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (based at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester) as the network hospital trusts that provide outpatient and diagnostic services.

Local surgeons and other clinicians have worked together to ensure Southampton General Hospital has the capacity and flexibility to cope with the additional volume of patients, which is expected to be around 300 patients a year.  Arrangements have also been made to monitor the move for patients needing complex vascular surgery at Southampton General Hospital.

There will continue to be a vascular surgeon available at Portsmouth during weekdays in outpatients and on the wards. This will mean that patients with diabetes, kidney problems, cancer or injuries will be seen by a vascular surgeon.

Portsmouth will continue as the major regional renal (kidney) centre and patients will continue to be treated there for complications that arise from dialysis. There will be a handful of cases each year where a patient who needs dialysis will need urgent/emergency treatment at Southampton which needs an overnight stay and temporary dialysis will be available for them at Southampton during their stay.

Why are the changes happening?

Previously there were two networks for South Hampshire – one in Portsmouth and one in Southampton which already provided services for patients from Winchester and the Isle of Wight.

An expert clinical review of services at hospitals in Portsmouth and Southampton was conducted by the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland in 2015. Their report identified a range of issues at both hospitals that need addressing to ensure high quality sustainable services in the future.  The Vascular Society recommended the best way of securing resilient services that meet the society’s standards would be the creation of one southern Hampshire network of vascular (arterial) services with University Hospital Southampton operating as the single hub for the county and the Isle of Wight. 

Under the changes the majority of patients will continue to be seen at their local hospital by vascular surgeons.

However, all emergency and most planned major treatment will be provided at University Hospital Southampton which has seen further investment including:

  • A refurbished ward with extra beds which will receive emergency patients 24 hours a day
  • An additional vascular nurse specialist who will support the transfer of patients back to their local hospital and/or to home
  • A newly built operating theatre that can offer vascular surgery and interventional radiology at the same time
  • Out of hours and at weekends there will be an on call vascular surgeon at University Hospital Southampton who can be contacted by surgical teams at Portsmouth, Winchester and on the Isle of Wight

 

Portsmouth will continue as the major regional renal (kidney) centre and patients will continue to be treated there for complications that arise from dialysis. There will be a handful of cases each year where a patient who needs dialysis will need urgent/emergency treatment at Southampton which needs an overnight stay and temporary dialysis will be available for them at Southampton during their stay.

The changes have the endorsement of Paul Blair, who conducted the review in 2015 and who, at the time, was President of the Vascular Society.

During the summer of 2016 there was extensive public and patient engagement about the future of Southern Hampshire Vascular services supported by local Healthwatch and which was shared with local authority health overview and scrutiny committees