CHANCELLOR George Osborne has today pledged £2million towards a flagship new children’s accident and emergency unit in Southampton.
Mr Osborne announced in the Budget that he will be providing the cash to Southampton General Hospital towards a new £4.8million children’s accident emergency and trauma unit.
The move sparks victory in the Daily Echo’s “Say Yes George” campaign – lobbying the Chancellor to match-fund the exciting scheme which will transform medical services for children across the South.
Mr Osborne told the House of Commons: “I’m using the LIBOR funds specifically to help with children’s’ hospital services.
“Members across the House have asked for resources for children’s’ care in Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and Southampton and we provide those funds today.
A determination to improve the health of our children.”
Earlier in his speech he said: “We will put the next generation first.
Doing the right thing for the next generation is what the government and this Budget is about, no matter how difficult and controversial it is.
“Mr Deputy Speaker, you cannot have a long term plan for the country unless you have a long term plan for our children’s healthcare.”
As previously reported we have partnered with Southampton General Hospital and celebrities Sarah Parish and James Murray from the Murray Parish Trust to campaign for the proposed new unit.
It will offer specially tailored care for young people in a 'child friendly' environment - instead of them having to use busy adult A&E services.
But before we can raise the funds, we needed the government to agree to match-fund cash locally with £2million from the Treasury.
Saints legend Francis Benali and Little Britain star Matt Lucas are among those supporting our Say Yes George campaign.
And Mr Osborne made that decision when announcing today’s spending plans in an overall package which he coined as “a budget for the next generation”.
Reacting to the news, Ms Parish said: "We've got it people! George has said Yes!!
"Thank you all for your support. The Murray Parish Trust are over the moon."
We've got it people! George has said Yes!! Thank you all for your support. The Murray Parish Trust are over the moon.@Themurrayparish— Sarah Parish (@DrSarahParish) 16 March 2016
The announcement came less than 24 hours after Prime Minister David Cameron had backed the scheme – hailing it as a “good idea” in a hospital he says he has long admired.
Mr Smith said: “This is the best news we could have hoped for and I am grateful to the Chancellor and Prime Minister for listening to our representations.
"A dedicated children’s unit will not only serve Southampton’s poorly children but will increase capacity right across the region.
"I am pleased to have been able to play my part and I would like to pay tribute to everyone who lent their support."
Southampton North and Romsey MP Caroline Nokes said: "I am delighted that the Chancellor has agreed to fund a specialist Children’s Emergency Unit in the budget today.
"There has been huge support for this important project which will provide dedicated emergency care for children across the region.
"SGH has an outstanding Emergency Department and I know the staff will be as eager as I am to have this unit up and running as soon as possible."
Speaking immediately after the Budget from the House of Commons, Winchester and Chandlers Ford MP Steve Brine said: "This has been such a focused campaign and it's picked up huge momentum in short time.
"Clearly the Chancellor heard our case.
"I am thrilled."
Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead said: “I am delighted that cash from the Libor funds will be going towards funding a dedicated children’s A&E department in Southampton, the first one outside of London in the South.
"This is something that I called for alongside other MPs in the region."
Eastleigh MP Mims Davies said: “Having a bespoke children’s emergency unit a step closer with the pledge of match funding from the government is great news.
“It also nice to see that the Chancellor has listened to the campaign, local MPs and the local media and responded so positively. I look forward to the unit becoming a reality.”
Fiona Dalton, chief executive of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted the chancellor has agreed to invest £2 million towards a new children’s emergency and trauma department for children from across the South of England.
“We are extremely proud of the excellent clinical care our staff already deliver every day but, in order to maintain our high standards over the coming years, it is vital we improve and expand our children’s hospital facilities to meet increasing levels of demand.
“This funding, in addition to the £800,000 already invested by the trust, enables us to move forward with our plans – but we wouldn’t find ourselves in this position if we had not been fortunate enough to have the support of some very passionate and dedicated campaigners.
“We would like to say a special thank you to the Murray Parish Trust, Winchester MP Steve Brine and his parliamentary colleagues and the Daily Echo for their fantastic efforts to drive this campaign forward but, most importantly, to our patients – past and present – and their families, staff and members of the public.
“We have seen an amazing display of teamwork from so many people to get us to this point and we now look forward to working with our partners to begin planning a fundraising campaign to meet the remainder of the costs.”