STRUCTURE: Vascular services in the south of Hampshire are to remain unchanged after a planned reconfiguration was halted.

Portsmouth Hospitals Trust and University Hospitals of Southampton Foundation Trust were unable to reach agreement on how they could work together to provide services to the area.

Original plans were for complex vascular surgery to be delivered in a single centre at Southampton General Hospital, with day cases dealt with in both Southampton and Portsmouth.

However the Portsmouth trust objected, and HSJ understands the plans received more opposition from the local population than commissioners expected.  

In last month’s board papers for the SHIP PCT cluster said “considerable progress” had been made on a compromise agreement – however HSJ understands that the providers never managed to agree on how services should be spread between them.

The papers said local clinicians are divided on the best way forward. However a standalone unit in Portsmouth, while clinically viable in the short term, “would represent a challenge for the trust in the longer term”.

Another factor was “the long-term sustainability of Portsmouth Hospitals Trust”. Commissioners were working “to ensure that all opportunities to minimise any financial impact on Queen Alexandra Hospital are explored”.

A statement from the cluster said that while no change will be made in the short term, commissioners would keep the Portsmouth service under review to ensure it met “all of the local and national standards”. This will involve the trust recruiting extra clinicians.

Debbie Fleming, chief executive for the SHIP PCT cluster said: “The PCT cluster and local CCGs recognise that both trusts are working to develop services for their patients, amidst a range of challenges and different pressures and whilst we are very disappointed with this outcome, we respect the differing positions of the two organisations.

“We recognise that Queen Alexandra Hospital is a large acute centre and as a result of debate and discussions with Portsmouth Hospitals Trust we have greater clarity on how the Trust meets the required standards and service specification.”