Hampshire’s children’s heart service under review once again

Janine Andrade,  Siobhan Edwards-Bannon and Zoe Boxhall with the pupils learning about the human skeleton .
Picture : Habibur Rahman (171637-3)

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A FRESH review to see which hospitals, which includes a Hampshire unit, should carry out specialist heart surgery is to be completed by next June.

As reported, the children’s congenital heart services department at Southampton General Hospital – the closest for the Portsmouth area – was under threat last year.

It was named as one of seven centres out of 10 that would not close, after the Safe and Sustainable review was completed earlier this year.

Instead units in Leeds, Leicester and West London were set to be shut.

Mum Sam Prior, of Elder Close, Locks Heath, whose son Aaron has had four open heart surgery operations, was one of many people campaigning to keep the Southampton unit open.

But the decision was scrapped after it was found the review process had ‘flawed analysis’.

Now a new review, which will be joined up with a review of adult cardiac care, has been lined up.

NHS England, the commissioning body that will pay for the service, said results need to be delivered ‘at pace’ by June 2014.

Bill McCarthy, national director for policy, said: ‘We need to develop a process which is as transparent and inclusive as it can be, particularly in the use of evidence and data.

‘Almost as important as the thoroughness of our work, will be the need to be seen as engaging as widely as possible, bringing patients, clinicians and their representatives together in the joint pursuit of an effective and equitable solution.’