Have your say on changes to the North Devon & Somerset Vascular Network’s Services

Have your say on changes to the North Devon & Somerset Vascular Network’s Services

Why do vascular services need to change?

The scope of specialist vascular services can be briefly summarised as preventing death from aortic aneurysm, preventing stroke from carotid artery disease and preventing lower limb amputation from peripheral arterial disease and diabetes. In 2007 over 65,000 people in the UK had surgery for a problem relating to vascular disease (Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland - VSGBI, 2009). The prevalence of vascular disease increases with age meaning that demand for vascular services is likely to increase over time. In addition, there are currently an estimated 3 million people with diabetes in England and this prevalence is increasing; patients with diabetes and vascular disease have a worse outcome, as evidenced by the increasing rate of lower limb amputation in this patient group.

The outcomes from vascular surgery in the United Kingdom have not compared well internationally, with the UK until recently having the highest mortality rates in Western Europe for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (VASCUNET, 2008). Hence, it is a national priority for the NHS to ensure vascular services are configured in ways that reflect best practice to ensure their safety and quality both now and for years to come.

In light of these recommendations NHS England, as the commissioners of specialist vascular services, published a national specification for the provision of vascular services in July 2013. This specification sets out both the essential components of a specialist vascular service and the clinical outcomes that the service should achieve. NHS England are bringing all vascular services into line with this service specification to improve patient outcomes and the long term sustainability of vascular services as well as increasing accessibility of the service from normal working hours to 24/7, 365 days of the year.

What’s changing?

NHS England - in partnership with clinicians from Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has developed a new service model for the delivery of high quality vascular service in Somerset and North Devon which is compliant with the Vascular Society – Great Britain and Ireland Provision of Vascular Service document and the NHS England specialised vascular service specification (A04/s/a).  This means some types of more complex, inpatient vascular surgery needs to concentrated at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, whilst other aspects of the service, such as Day case Surgery and outpatient care, will remain in local hospitals within the network as currently.

The video provides more detailed information about the proposed changes to vascular services in the region.  We would like to know what you think about the proposed changes and what you think an excellent vascular service for the future should include.

How can you help?

Whilst we cannot change the content of the service specification we would like to know what local people think are the most important aspects of the service specification, and to tell us about anything you want us to consider before we make any final decisions about how we can develop the service.

To help us, we would be grateful if you could complete the brief online questionnaire, which should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Link to questionnaire:

Alternatively, you are welcome to contact Dr Lou Farbus (Head of Stakeholder Engagement for Specialised Services) by email at to obtain a printed copy of the questionnaire or would like it in some other format or language. If you would prefer to provide your answers verbally this can also be arranged by contacting Lou.

Any information you provide will be sent directly to the commissioners of the service, NHS England, be kept anonymous and used to help us make decisions about how services need to be developed in the South West. A copy of these results and the actions that commissioners and hospitals will take in response to what people have said will be published on this website as soon as we are able.

If you should choose to provide your name and contact details when asked at the end of the questionnaire then this information will only be used to contact you if we need to check our understanding of what you have said, or if you have said you would like to get more involved in helping NHS England commission specialised services again in the future. Taking part will not have any negative impact on the care you or your loved ones receive, and any services you currently use will not know you have taken part.

If you would like to know more about the research evidence that supports this work please click here 

If you would like more information about the proposed service model please click here

A full copy of the service specification can be obtained from

To watch the video, please click here.

The survey will run for 6 weeks and we will post a report on the results on this webpage as soon as we are able to.

Thank you for your time and consideration.