COMPLEX vascular surgery has not yet been moved out of Wycombe Hospital and Bucks health chiefs still hope to retain certain procedures.

But documents obtained by the Bucks Free Press [see related links] give short shrift to this idea.

The review of Phase 1 of the centralisation says: "Wycombe Hospital must agree to the transfer of all arterial surgery [to Oxford]... It is not viable for carotid and femorodistal bypass surgery to be excluded."

The reviewers argue the number of hospitals providing vascular surgery is set to be reduced to about 50 in England and Wales (from 150) and "commissioners will not purchase arterial interventions except from arterial centres".

Concerns have already been raised that the loss of carotid surgery from Wycombe Hospital could in turn threaten its critical care, coronary and hyper-acute stroke units [see related links].

The NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Cluster said: "Our preferred option was for Wycombe Hospital to continue carotid surgery to prevent strokes, but we commented that this may not be a viable option in the longer run and that the service would need further review."

It said the review findings would be considered by commissioners.

The main treatments already set to move from Wycombe to Oxford are for patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).

This is a condition in which the main artery in the abdomen becomes stretched and prone to bursting.

Timely detection and treatment of AAA prevents later problems with rupture and bleeding, and can be life-saving.

Treatment for AAA can be either by open surgery or by a much less invasive approach through the major blood vessels which is called endovascular surgery.

The current centralisation does not include day case vascular surgery, diagnostics and outpatient provision, which will all stay in Wycombe.