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Last bid to keep vascular services in Warrington
7:52am Monday 23rd July 2012 in News
A DECISION to move some vascular services from Warrington Hospital to Chester has been referred to health secretary Andrew Lansley.
The boards of NHS Merseyside and NHS Cheshire Warrington and Wirral had agreed to creating two new centres of excellence at the Liverpool Royal and Countess of Chester hospitals.
But a joint committee of councillors from Warrington, Halton and St Helens voted to send the decision to the Health Secretary after they objected to the move.
Clr Tony Higgins (LAB - Fairfield and Howley), chairman of the joint overview and scrutiny committee, said: “We are losing a service at Warrington Hospital, I want it to be returned there.
“Two hundred people on average are going to be inconvenienced going to Chester. That’s not acceptable.
“I said at the beginning of this process I’m determined to see this through to get the right result for Warrington. They were taken by surprise that we were going to take it to the secretary of state.”
At a fractious meeting at the Town Hall on Thursday councillors questioned NHS officials about their decision - and raised their concerns about the implications for patients in the area.
Halton Clr Ellen Cargill said it would take residents up to an hour to get to Chester.
She also raised concerns about knock-on effects on other patients should an urgent transfer from Warrington Hospital be needed - with a medical crew including a doctor expected to travel with a patient to Chester.
But NHS bosses said only three to four people a week would require the more complex surgery which would be on offer at Chester.
Paul Moody, consultant vascular surgeon at Warrington and Halton Hospitals, said: “I have great sympathy with the people who have transport issues.
“We probably see about 100 patients a week and don’t have to operate on that many.
“It is going to be troublesome for those who do have to travel to see there family members and we will try and reduce that.”
Peter Herring, chief executive of the Countess of Chester Hospital, added: “This is about improving clinical outcomes for our patients, this is incredibly complex surgery.”
Clr Wendy Johnson (LD - Grappenhall and Thelwall) called for regular updates on how transporting patients between the two hospitals was doing once the centre comes into operation - which is due in April 2013.
But NHS bosses warned the plan could be delayed by the referral to Government.
Clr Higgins said the committee wanted the same, adding: “We need to get this resolved as quickly as possible. We don’t want this hanging over us.”
Councillors voted in favour of sending the decision to the secretary of state with Clr Johnson abstaining and Clr Jean Carter (LAB - Great Sankey South) voting against.