Have your say on future of heart unit for children

090467-5_heart 6/2/2009''Aaron Prior (middle left) who suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome with his family Paul Prior, Sam Prior and Jadon Prior 5.''PICTURE: WILL CADDY (090467-5)
090467-5_heart 6/2/2009''Aaron Prior (middle left) who suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome with his family Paul Prior, Sam Prior and Jadon Prior 5.''PICTURE: WILL CADDY (090467-5)

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Have your say

CAMPAIGNERS are urging more people to join the fight to save a children’s heart unit.

There are only 11 days to go before the consultation on children’s heart services ends and Southampton General Hospital’s unit’s fate will be decided.

So far, 23,318 people, including parents, young people and clinicians, have responded to the consultation – but only 97 people from Portsmouth have had their say.

Sam Prior, from Locks Heath, whose son Aaron, now nine, was born with a rare heart condition and has had operations and check-ups at the unit, is urging more people to respond.

She said: ‘We need more people to take part and choose the option to keep Southampton open. The more responses, the more chance we have of saving the unit.

‘Anybody can have their say – you don’t have to have a child with a heart problem and you don’t have to have used the unit. Anybody, including GPs, people from the nursing community, and anybody else, can be a part of the consultation.’

As previously reported in The News, Southampton’s heart unit is under threat because a national review has recommended making fewer larger centres in England.

Four options for where these centres should be have been put out to consultation.

Despite being rated as the second-highest performing centre in the country, Southampton is included in only one option.

Mrs Prior said: ‘If they close Southampton the nearest one will be London or Bristol. We need to keep it open.’

She added: ‘Even though this is a unit in Southampton, anyone from the Portsmouth area who had a child with a heart condition would go there, so people all around this area will be affected.’

The consultation runs until July 1 and a decision is expected later this year.

To have your say you can download a response form online at ipsos-mori.com/safeandsustainable or request a hard copy from nhsspecialisedservices@grayling.com, or you can text Heart to 85001.