East and North Herts NHS Trust wins national recognition for swift vascular surgery service

PUBLISHED: 07:01 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:32 23 January 2018

The North East Herts NHS Trust has been asked by NHS England specialist commissioners to explore setting up a specialist vascular surgery hub for Hertfordshire and West Essex at Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Picture: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

The North East Herts NHS Trust has been asked by NHS England specialist commissioners to explore setting up a specialist vascular surgery hub for Hertfordshire and West Essex at Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Picture: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

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The vascular surgery team at the East and North Herts NHS Trust has received national recognition for being the second fastest in the country for unblocking carotid arteries – a procedure which must be done quickly to reduce the risk of further strokes in patients.

Vascular surgery is an area which treats the arteries and veins of the body. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach is key to the NHS trust’s impressive ranking in the 2016 National Vascular Registry report for unblocking carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain.

A bid to create a specialist vascular surgery hub for Hertfordshire and West Essex at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital has also been successful, despite previous fears the existing local service could be moved to Watford General due to high mortality rates.

In 2013, this paper reported that mortality rates at Lister Hospital were high when it came to complex vascular surgery, and the NHS trust’s most senior vascular surgeon had a death rate more than twice the national average.

The Midlands and East Specialised Commissioning Group began exploring moving specialised or complex vascular surgery from the Stevenage site to Watford General Hospital, which had mortality rates well below national targets and had been described as consistently good.

The move was avoided, and now the East and North Herts NHS Trust has been successful in its bid to create a specialist vascular surgery hub for Hertfordshire and West Essex, with the next step to come up with a viable business case.

A spokesman for the NHS trust said: “The NHS trust has been asked by NHS England specialist commissioners to explore setting up a specialist vascular surgery hub for Hertfordshire and West Essex at the Lister.

“We are now in the process of carrying out work on the business case to see how this service might be developed here in Hertfordshire.

“It is hoped that a final decision on the way forward can be made shortly.”

Overall, the NHS trust’s mortality rate for AAA – abdominal aortic aneurysm – is currently within the ‘as expected’ range, pointing to a high level of vascular surgery, and the fact the NHS trust’s surgeons have been trained in keyhole surgery since the data in 2013 has led to a drop in mortality rates.

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