Fears over future of children's heart unit again

Doctors urge the public to keep up the pressure to save children's heart unit in Southampton.

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Parents step up fight to keep heart surgery unit

The last review into the future of children's heart surgery took four years and cost £6m. But all that time, money and effort was wasted when the decision was overturned and a new inquiry announced. Its aim - to create a system where centres of expertise give babies and children the best possible outcomes.

Now, the same arguments are being rehearsed all over again - and there's renewed anguish and uncertainty for parents as units across the country fight for their long term survival. A joint service run by Southampton General Hospital and the John Radcliffe in Oxford was recently found to have the highest survival rates in the country. Yet that doesn't stop question marks remaining over its future, as Christine Alsford reports.

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Fears over future of children's heart unit, again

The specialist service sees more than 10,000 patients a year

Members of the public are being urged to keep up the pressure in order to save a children's heart unit in Hampshire.

NHS England is holding public consultations over the future of ten specialist surgical centres around the country - including the paediatric cardiac service at Southampton Children's Hospital.

The unit had previously been spared closure in 2012, after plans to create fewer, larger centres were suspended in Parliament.

During the original review process, Southampton was rated as the second-highest performing children's heart surgery centre in England. The unit also had the best survival rate of the ten centres under review - at 98.5%.

More than 10,000 patients visit the hospital each year, which also has support services in Oxford.

Experts and campaigners say heart surgery units must remain. Dr. Kevin Roman is a Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist:

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