Closure of child heart unit ‘must be stopped’

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HAMPSHIRE’S council leader has called on the Health Secretary to halt a review of children’s heart units.

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, has written to Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, criticising the review which could see the closure of Southampton General Hospital’s childrens’ heart unit.

Cllr Thornber said it’s unacceptable that Southampton – which is the second highest performing unit in the country – should only have a 25 per cent chance of survival under the review, which is aiming to close units and create bigger centres of excellence.

In his letter to Mr Lansley, Cllr Thornber said: ‘I’m writing on behalf of the county council to express our deep dismay at the current options out to consultation.

‘I’m asking that you call a halt to this flawed process and require those leading it to review their assessment of the options for reconfiguration to take account of the evidence of service quality.’

He added: ‘Our children deserve better than this.’