Hampshire’s health panel supports children’s heart centre in Southampton

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THE county’s health watchdog has thrown its weight behind the campaign to save a children’s heart unit.

Hampshire County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee has confirmed its support for Southampton General Hospital’s paediatric cardiology centre.

As reported, the unit is under threat as part of an NHS review of children’s heart services which is seeking to close some centres and make fewer larger units of excellence.

Four options for where these centres should be have been put forward and Southampton appears in only one of them.

The council’s health committee has written to the panel carrying out the review.

In the letter, committee chairman Cllr Pat West says the committee wants to see Southampton’s centre remain open and worries about the potential effect a closure could have on the paediatric intensive care unit at the hospital.

Cllr West also spoke of the committee’s concerns about the decision-making process that led to developing the options for where centres should be.

In the letter she said the committee ‘will not support any decision that cannot demonstrate that quality of care led to the configuration of surgical centres and that, as a result of any changes made, any risk to critical paediatric clinical networks is not acceptable’.

Thousands of people from across the area took part in the four-month public consultation about the future of children’s heart services.

Local politicians and doctors have also spoken out in support of keeping Southampton’s unit open.

If the unit closes, children from our area would have to travel to Bristol or London instead.