A major shake-up in vascular services is planned for the East of England, with several hospitals set to lose work.

Many of the hospitals in the region already work in vascular networks but the proposals could see others giving up their complex inpatient work.

The proposals include:

  • Patients from Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow receiving complex surgery at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford (part of Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust).
  • Hertfordshire patients being offered major surgery at Watford General Hospital (West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust) rather than the Lister Hospital in Stevenage (East and North Hertfordshire Trust).
  • Bedford Hospital Trust, which already works with the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Trust, also taking patients from Milton Keynes Hospital Foundation Trust.

The East of England specialised commissioning group has been leading work on reconfiguring services to meet the new national standards on vascular surgery. It found the amount of vascular work done at the region’s hospitals varied enormously – from 50 abdominal aortic aneurysms over three years to more than 400.

Only five of the 13 centres doing vascular work did more than 100 elective AAAs over three years, the standard recommended by the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Other society guidelines which affected the group’s recommendation are that major centres should have a 24/7 on-call rota of at least six specialists, 24/7 critical care, a dedicated ward for vascular patients and specialised equipment.

If hospitals do not meet these guidelines, their vascular surgeons could join rotas based around other hospitals and continue doing some work in their home hospital.

Some hospitals in the region are already working in networks and others have agreed to do so. Patients from Peterborough City Hospital will now go to Addenbrooke’s, part of Cambridge University Hospitals Trust.

Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals Trust has agreed that complex surgery previously provided at Basildon should instead go to Southend, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, is working with networks linked to Norfolk and Norwich and Cambridge University Hospitals trusts.

The proposals, which the group says will save lives, are being consulted on until August.