Councillors rap unit plans
COUNCILLORS have criticised plans to move vascular services to Sunderland under new proposals from NHS bosses.
As part of a strategic review, the region’s service is set to downsize to three vascular hubs in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland.
Following a clinical review, health bosses recommended to move existing vascular services from University Hospital of North Durham to Sunderland Royal Hospital.
While patients will still be able to access outpatient clinics, scans and day case surgery in Durham, councillors claimed the move could put patients in rural areas at risk.
Members of Durham County Council’s Special Adults, Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard an update on the scheme.
While councillors backed the clinical case, several disputed information provided by NHS bosses around travel times.
Coun Richard Bell raised concerns the changes would put pressure on the North East Ambulance Service while Coun Andrea Patterson disputed the travel times provided.
Councillors also heard that the proposals were going out for ‘engagement’ rather than a formal public consultation.
Coun Amanda Hopgood added: “Engagement insinuates you’re going to listen and potentially change your mind but it’s different. The decision has been made.”