Yesterday, my in-box lit up with worried people asking how – so soon after the last campaign & professional review – vascular surgery at QA Hospital could once again be at risk for its provision in this hospital.  Good Question.

If this goes ahead, my understanding is that it is the on-immediate-call element for other operations that would be one critical ‘hidden’ loss for patients at QA.  This is an essential aspect of the hospital wider surgical skill base.  Only weeks ago, the argument against QA losing this skill in vascular surgery was won by a campaign recognising the full implications of this as well as retaining a core skill for this surgical intervention generally.

If the doctors, surgeons and commissioning experts agree this is true, then the issue is one that should not be allowed to be reviewed again only a moment (it seems) after the argument has been won for retention at QA.

If they argue there is a change in the essential & immediate need, then they should stand up and be publicly associated with the level of increased risk for patients targeted for treatment at QA.  If they argue that there are cost implications, then this should be made clear as the driver for change and the opportunity should be taken to remove it as a cause through other budget action.

I hope that amongst the motivation to get this correct, once and for all, might be a reminder that the Royal College of Surgeons logo includes ‘advancing surgical standards’.  This is not about having only one place of excellence (we can do it in theory), it is about having excellence delivered at the point of need for patients (we can deliver essential life saving vascular surgery in practice).RCS LOGO

The Portsmouth NHS Trust’s vision is simple….
“To be recognised as a world-class hospital, leading the field through innovative healthcare solutions focused on the best outcome for our patients delivered in a safe, caring and inspiring environment.”
World Class seems to me to need the inclusion of Vascular Surgery.qahlogo

If you agree, then please make the point to QA directly, to our local paper The News (whose coverage today is a very welcome and timely expression of the risk, but recognition of the challenges to retention) or to your local representatives on the patient boards. It seems that unless we fight, and continue to fight, this will happen without a proper explanation of the risk for Gosport’s people (my particular concern) and more widely to the catchment area of QA Hospital.