Concerns have been raised about moving some medical services out of Wiltshire to concentrate them in bigger centres.
NHS England is currently putting together a five year plan for specialised services. In Wiltshire. Vascular surgery is being proposed to move from Salisbury District Hospital and the Royal United Hospital, Bath, to hospitals in Bournemouth, Bristol and Cheltenham.
At a meeting of Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board last Thursday in Trowbridge GPs and others spoke of their concerns.
Dr Toby Davies, chairman of the Sarum group of GPs, said: “People will have to travel too far when they are too ill to do so. I had an 85-year-old patient from Ludgershall having to go to Bournemouth in an ambulance. The journey nearly killed them.”
James Scott, chief executive of the RUH, told the meeting: “We have not given up on the battle for elective vascular care. When the centre (NHS England) can demonstrate the same outcomes as we have currently I will agree to it (specialist centres).”
Maggie Rae, Wiltshire’s director of public health, said: “What is going to be left in the three district general hospitals (in Wiltshire) and how are they are going to serve the population? People in Pewsey struggle to get services even now. If services are going to be moved out, what are they going to do?
“If we have a catastrophe and we don’t have these specialists in Wiltshire I just feel we will have a second class service.”
Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council, said access to transport was an important issue in Wiltshire and health bosses had to take this into account.
Debra Elliott, director of commissioning at NHS England, told the meeting that NHS England were aware of the concerns and discussions would be held with clinicians.
NHS England’s draft strategy on specialised services is due out in the next few months followed by a three month public consultation.