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Healthwatch County Durham and Healthwatch Darlington host information events for vascular services

Healthwatch County Durham and Healthwatch Darlington are encouraging people in County Durham to attend information and listening events about changes to vascular services in County Durham.

The events, which will be hosted by Healthwatch, are being organised by NHS England to capture the views of patients and the public about improving patient experience when people have vascular surgery.

Vascular services manage the treatment and care of patients with disorders of arteries and veins..

Attendees will be able to hear from and share their views directly with NHS staff, including vascular consultants.

The changes and the benefits to patients and NHS staff will be explained at the events which are being held across County Durham and Darlington on the following dates:

  • Thursday 17th January 2019, 5-7pm at Spennymoor
  • Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 5-7pm at Stanhope
  • Monday 28th January 2019, 5-7pm at Durham
  • Wednesday 30th January 2019, 5-7pm at Darlington
  • Wednesday 13th February 2019, 5-7pm at Consett
  • Wednesday 27th February 2019, 5-7pm at Barnard Castle

This change affects patients from County Durham who have vascular surgery and have to stay in hospital overnight. Patients who have accessed this service over the last three years at University Hospital North Durham have been personally invited to these events and members of the public are also very welcome. It is appreciated that decisions on changes to services will also impact on a patient's carer, family and friends.

To register your interest in attending one of the above events or for more information, please contact Healthwatch County Durham by calling 0800 304 7039 or emailing

Vascular services are currently provided from four sites in the North East - James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, Sunderland Royal Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham.   

James Cook University Hospital and the Freeman Hospital are both major trauma centres so must continue to provide a full vascular service. 

An independent review by the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland has recommended that to ensure vascular services in the North East continue to be of high quality and sustainable, full vascular services should be delivered from three centres - in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland. 

The recommendation means that around ten patients a week, who live in County Durham, will have their vascular surgery done at Sunderland Royal Hospital instead of University Hospital of North Durham.

Around two patients a week, who live in Darlington and surrounding areas, would have this surgery at James Cook University Hospital, due to the hospital being closer to where they live.

Around 3,600 patients a year will continue to access vascular outpatient and diagnostic appointments and services to treat varicose veins in County Durham. Patients will also continue to access rehabilitation services locally.

"Professor Chris Gray, NHS England's medical director in North Cumbria and the North East, said: "I encourage patients and members of the public to go along to these events, their feedback is very valuable in ensuring that we can improve patient experience at what can be a worrying time for patients, their carers and families.

"All NHS organisations involved in this reconfiguration support the recommendation that Sunderland Royal Hospital should be the third vascular centre in our region. This reconfiguration will also improve the overall sustainability of the service in the region and aid recruitment, while minimising any potential gaps in rotas and fragility within a service which is under increasing pressure. "

For more general information about Healthwatch County Durham visit and for Healthwatch Darlington  


Published 21st January 2019 

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham