Fight to save Southampton’s children’s heart unit begins again

CAMPAIGNERS Aaron Prior, middle left, with his father Paul, mum Sam and brother Jadon.
CAMPAIGNERS Aaron Prior, middle left, with his father Paul, mum Sam and brother Jadon.

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FAMILIES of children across the south will meet with NHS bosses to urge them to save the children’s heart unit.

As previously reported, the children’s congenital heart services at Southampton General Hospital – the closest for the Portsmouth area – had been saved from closure.

A review by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts last July, concluded expertise was spread too thinly between 10 centres nationally, and should be reduced to six or seven.

But a high court ruling following an appeal from campaigners trying to save Leeds General Infirmary’s unit - which would have closed under the reforms - found in their favour.

It prompted health secretary Jeremy Hunt to ask Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IPR) to assess the original review – and it was found to be flawed. Sam Prior, from Locks Heath, has been battling to save the unit since 2010. Her son Aaron has undergone open heart surgery four times, said: ‘We’re three years down the line and there has been no implementation of the standards and we’re just in limbo.

‘I think it’s completely unfair on all the families and the children.’