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Vascular services battle set to rumble on


A two-year campaign to save vascular services at Warrington Hospital is set to rumble on.
After hearing that NHS chiefs in Cheshire and Merseyside had decided there should be two arterial centre for vascular services across the area – one at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the other at the Countess of Chester Hospital, resulting in the loss of services in Warrington, members of a Joint Overview and Scrutiny panel voted to challenge the decision.
It will be now referred to the Secretary of State Andrew Lansley, who will have the final say on the future of the service. If the challenge is unsuccessful Patients from the Warrington area would be dealt with at the Chester hospital.
Chair of the panel, Warrington councillor Tony Higgins (pictured) said: “We can not sit back and just allow this to happen as it could have devastating consequences for the people of Warrington.
“Why should Warrington people, who can currently get on a bus, or make a short journey to their local hospital, have to travel to Chester? It does not make any sense.
“There is going to be a lot of hard work involved but by calling in the Secretary of State for a review of the decision gives us a lifeline. It is our final shot at saving this service in Warrington.”
The decision to look at moving the services to two hospitals, which follows a review which started in 2010, has caused widespread anger in Warrington.
Both the town’s MPs Helen Jones and David Mowat, have spoken out against the move, Warrington, St Helens and Halton borough councils opposed the proposals and thousands of people signed petitions objecting to the changes
But health bosses say there has been a comprehensive review and a full public consultation following recommendations from the Vascular Society and international evidence that complex arterial surgery should be carried out in specialist arterial centres to improve outcomes for patients.
They claim this has been generally accepted across Cheshire and Merseyside.
In a statement, they say the creation of the two specialist arterial centres will mean patients right across Cheshire and Merseyside will benefit from improved services and better outcomes.
In addition, as a result of having specialist arterial centres, the national Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening programme will be launched, leading to more lives being saved across Cheshire and Merseyside.
The new service at Chester would have been implemented on April 1 next year while the Liverpool service could start as early as September 3 this year.
But now the final decision will rest with the secretary of state.


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. Well done in getting this review! It’s high time that these decision makers in the NHS took into account all factors – including what patients have to say – and make their decisions in the best interests of the residents of this area. Clearly a travel to Chester lengthens the time to get to treatment and must be detrimental to patiens. All these fancy phrases mean nothing.

  2. I agree warringtonian why should warrington residents travel all the way to chester when all they need to do is go to their local hospital a mile or two away ! I’m pleased that for once we have local councillors like tony Higgins who are fighting for us the underdogs here in warrington and trying their best

  3. the medical reasons for this move are more inportant than political point scoring – the concentration of resources, expertise and ongoing experience in fewer locations mean better outcomes – including survival rates , well worth the journey to Chester for some services.

  4. We would all like treatment for our ailments and illnesses to be locally available. But in these hard pressed times it is not possible to achieve that ideal. Everyone, including the NHS, is strapped for cash. That is an inarguable fact. The best and most cost effective way of using the NHS’s limited resources of cash and expensive medical skills is to create regional centres of excellence. This has been done successfully for cancer. Cancer patients travel from all parts to be treated at the Christie hospital in Manchester and the Royal Marsden in the south, because they know the treatment is state of the art and the best available. Why not do the same for vascular services? Nick Tessla is right it is far better to consider the successful outcomes and increased survival rates that will derive from the proposed centres of medical excellence, than locally slanted political rhetoric aimed at winning votes.

  5. To all you fit and healthy people out there hope you never have to rely on this service cos if wasn't for the likes of councillor Higgins and co there would be nowt left ,I believe a labour councillor voted against the recommendation to go to the health secretary councillor shame on them

  6. Nothing wrong at all for fighting for the interests of Warrington – and in this case there is strong medical argument for the change being in the interest of the people of Warrington Some services provided in a smaller number of specialist units- concentrating expertise and experience leading to better outcomes. The discussion should then be why it should be in Warrington, or some other location, and not Chester . That discussion should be based on medical grounds, the interests of all those affected in the area of the unit, not the egoes and voting interests of local politicians., in Warrington, Chester or anywhere else.

    This medical argument seems to be being ignored in the posturing of politicians who would rather indulge in whatever the opposite is of nimbyism.

  7. Being neither fit nor healthy, I want to receive the best possible treatment, that’s why I am all in favour of the centres of excellence, wherever they choose to set them up. I’ve lived here a fair while now, but I am more than willing to travel to get the best medical treatment on offer. Don’t think many would argue with that view.

  8. If you can aford the travel cost great ! But if you are on limited income not so good plus why again go to Chester when warrington are already doing this service not killed anyone yet at warrington so if it’s not broken don’t mend it !

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