Children's heart surgery review

Criticisms are expected in a review, due to be published today, on how hospitals in the UK were selected to provide children's heart surgery. Southampton General is one of seven chosen to be specialist centres.

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Families dismayed over children's heart surgery review

Families have been left dismayed tonight that, just a year after they fought to save children's heart surgery in the South, its future is again in doubt.

Southampton General Hospital, working with the John Radcliffe in Oxford, found out last July it had been chosen as one of seven centres of excellence and would remain open - while three others elsewhere in the country learned they had lost their fight and would close.

But today the review that led to those decisions was described by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as flawed - and there are concerns about what happens now. Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford has been following the story.

Package also includes WInchester MP Steve Brine.


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NHS England welcomes children's heart unit decision

NHS England welcomed Jeremy Hunt's decision to suspend planned closures of three children's heart surgery units and promised to lead plans to rethink how care can be improved.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director for NHS England said:

We welcome the review and NHS England will now study its recommendations in full to learn from them. We will institute a new process that recognises the very strong case for redesigning services to meet the demands of the future whilst addressing the legitimate concerns in our local communities.

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Plans to close children's heart surgery units suspended

Plans to close three children's heart surgery units were suspended by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today.

Addressing the House of Commons he said the review was based on "flawed analysis", saying:

The outcome of safe and sustainable review was based on a flawed analysis..and leaves too many questions about sustainability and implementation. This is serious criticism.

I therefore accept their recommendation that the proposals cannot go ahead in their current form, and am suspending the review today.

Future of Southampton heart unit not clear

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told parliament that a review of children's heart surgery units across the UK was based on flawed analysis.

The process to close three hospitals will now be suspended pending a further review by the government.

Jeremy Hunt did not make clear what impact this will have on Southampton General Hospital's heart unit.

The government still insists that larger specialist centres are needed improve the quality of children's heart surgery in the UK.

The Health Secretary insisted that the suspension was not 'a mandate for the status quo' and that NHS England would 'not seek to go over old ground over the past five years'.

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Child heart surgery unit decisions made last July

Last July, the decision was taken to close three of the 10 specialist child heart surgery units in England in a move to streamline paediatric heart services.

Leeds General Infirmary, Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, and the Royal Brompton in Chelsea, west London were earmarked for closure

The seven hospitals where it was decided surgery on children would continue were:

  • Great Ormond Street in London
  • Evelina Children's Hospital in London
  • Freeman Hospital in Newcastle
  • Birmingham's Children's Hospital
  • Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool
  • Royal Hospital for Children in Bristol
  • Southampton General Hospital


Campaigners await heart surgery review

Protesters voice their concerns outside Southampton General Hospital Credit: ITV News Meridian

The results of an independent review into the decision to stop children's heart surgery at three hospitals in England will be published later.

Southampton General is one of seven chosen to be a specialist centre. The review is expected to be critical of the process used to select the dedicated hospitals.

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