STRUCTURE: Vascular services in south Hampshire should be concentrated in a specialist centre at University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust, an expert review has concluded.

If the recommendation by the Vascular Society is accepted by NHS England it would mean some services currently delivered by Portsmouth Hospitals Trust would move to the Southampton site.

Plans to centralise vascular services in the region have been under consideration since 2008. Moving emergency and complex vascular surgery from Portsmouth to Southampton has been proposed twice before, in 2011 by regional commissioners, and in 2013 by the Wessex clinical senate.

However, reconfiguration has been held up by objections from Portsmouth Hospitals, which has warned about the impact on other services, and local campaigners in the city opposed to the loss of services.

In August a team from the Vascular Society was dispatched to assess services across the two trusts and make recommendations to the NHS England Wessex area team, which is responsible for commissioning the services.

In a press statement the area team said the Vascular Society had concluded that change was needed to stay compliant with its safety and quality standards and to facilitate seven day working.

“[The Vascular Society] report recommended the best way of securing resilient services would be the creation of a southern Hampshire network of vascular (arterial) services with University Hospital Southampton operating as the single hub for the county and the Isle of Wight,” the statement added.

Liz Mearns, NHS England’s medical director for Wessex, said the arm’s length body wanted to “end the uncertainty for patients and staff” and had asked surgeons and senior managers to develop options for the future of services based on the Vascular Society review.

“The detail of these options needs to be developed by surgeons working together and we will then be in a position to consult in a meaningful way with patients and the public about how any proposed changes will impact on them,” she added.

Southampton and Portsmouth declined to comment.