Top appointments prove excellence of Southampton's cardiac heart unit

Dr Tony Salmon

Dr Tony Salmon

First published in Have a Heart Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

TWO of Southampton’s heart experts have been chosen to help lead the country’s cardiac services – proving the high calibre of expertise the city’s heart unit boasts.

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The consultation is what the government will use to evaluate which units it will keep. It is imperative that as many people as possible use this opportunity to say they want 'Option B' which will save Southampton's children's cardiac unit.

The prestigious national appointments for two of Southampton General Hospital’s heart doctors has come as a real boost to the fight to save children’s heart surgery in the city, with just two days before we head to Downing Street with more than 190,000 signatures on the Have a Heart petition.

In their new prominent roles, Dr Iain Simpson and Dr Tony Salmon will help to shape and develop children’s and adult cardiac services across the UK over the next few years.

Hampshire MP Dr Julian Lewis hopes these top two appointments will highlight to health bosses who have put children’s heart surgery at risk in Southampton the sheer excellence and world-renowned reputation the city has when it comes to providing the best care for cardiac patients.

The specialist paediatric centre at Southampton is under threat, despite being ranked the second best in the country.

Southampton was featured in just one of four options which have been put out for a four-month public consultation, ending on July 1, before the joint committee of Primary Care Trusts makes its final decision by the end of the year.

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If Southampton closed, families would be forced to get lifesaving treatment in London or Bristol, at units which experts say fall below the “exemplary” standards that the city boasts.

Dr Lewis said: “These appointments underline with impeccable timing the overall reputation of Southampton as a top flight centre of excellence for heart surgery.

“Let us hope that the point is well taken by the people conducting the review into the future of the children’s heart unit.”

Consultant cardiologist Dr Simpson will serve a year as president elect of the British Cardiovascular Society before taking on a full three-year term.

Dr Salmon, a consultant congenital cardiologist, begins a two-year period as president of the British Congenital Cardiac Association in November, providing a voice for specialist working in paediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery, adult congenital heart disease and foetal cardiology.

In his role, Dr Simpson will act as the group’s main link with ministers and the Department of Health, the royal colleges, the British Heart Foundation and cardiac societies across Europe.

Dr Simpson said: “It is a measure of Southampton’s clinical leadership that we have been elected by our colleagues to take the specialty forward nationally.”

The hospital has a long history as being home to some of the best names in heart services including past presidents of the British Congenital Cardiac Association, Dr Barry Keeton, the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Jim Monro, and the British Cardiovascular Society, Dr Huon Gray.

Comments (4)

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7:19pm Mon 20 Jun 11

cyber_fug says...

dopey will be along soon to say that these people are getting paid too much and the cleaners should be given the job instead.....

Its good new for Southampton hospitals tho'
dopey will be along soon to say that these people are getting paid too much and the cleaners should be given the job instead..... Its good new for Southampton hospitals tho' cyber_fug
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Tue 21 Jun 11

AAll says...

Congratulations to the two Doctors.
In all the Articles from the Daily Echo, there is no mention to the fact that Soton appears in just one option (Option B) which is the second best option.

Moreover, I still do not get it.
Can someone explain this to me:
if Soton is such an excellent unit ranking very high, you take Option A (which IS the higher scoring option) remove Leicester, add Soton and you get Option B whic is the second best option.
Any suggestions?
Here is the answer: Option A is the best for the country, Option B is good for Soton.
How can you justify 4 units below Watford Gap, 1 in the midlands, 1 in the north esat and 1 in the north west?
You cannot be seriuos.
Congratulations to the two Doctors. In all the Articles from the Daily Echo, there is no mention to the fact that Soton appears in just one option (Option B) which is the second best option. Moreover, I still do not get it. Can someone explain this to me: if Soton is such an excellent unit ranking very high, you take Option A (which IS the higher scoring option) remove Leicester, add Soton and you get Option B whic is the second best option. Any suggestions? Here is the answer: Option A is the best for the country, Option B is good for Soton. How can you justify 4 units below Watford Gap, 1 in the midlands, 1 in the north esat and 1 in the north west? You cannot be seriuos. AAll
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Thu 23 Jun 11

Ragdolly says...

In response to AAll, I was at the Options announcement meeting in London on 16th Feb this year when I heard for myself that Southampton was put in Option B as they couldn't ignore it had scored so high on Quality!!! Option A is only the higher scoring option cos the JCPCT have manipulated the figures by fixing the patient flows so travel and access times look better, if you read any of the literature for this review you will know the patient flows in the consultation doc are not accurate, they left out the Isle of Wight and inaccurately attributed postcodes to each centre rather than researching this properly to see where the DGH's refer to, which is why they are undertaking more research as we speak. I can't legislate for parents who want their children to be treated at a centre just because it is close to home but I can say that alot of families who are treated in Southampton already travel a significant distance and there is one very good reason for this and that is because they want the very best care for their child and travelling distances are not an issue!
In response to AAll, I was at the Options announcement meeting in London on 16th Feb this year when I heard for myself that Southampton was put in Option B as they couldn't ignore it had scored so high on Quality!!! Option A is only the higher scoring option cos the JCPCT have manipulated the figures by fixing the patient flows so travel and access times look better, if you read any of the literature for this review you will know the patient flows in the consultation doc are not accurate, they left out the Isle of Wight and inaccurately attributed postcodes to each centre rather than researching this properly to see where the DGH's refer to, which is why they are undertaking more research as we speak. I can't legislate for parents who want their children to be treated at a centre just because it is close to home but I can say that alot of families who are treated in Southampton already travel a significant distance and there is one very good reason for this and that is because they want the very best care for their child and travelling distances are not an issue! Ragdolly
  • Score: 0

6:02pm Fri 24 Jun 11

the other side says...

Ragdolly is getting herself(?) confused, the majority of people whose children are treated at Southampton have had to travel immense distances, not because that is their choice but because they have no choice, they go where the treatment is if they need operations! In view of population densities and geographically, it makes far more sense for Option A. Also Ocean Ward amenities and the accommodation offered for parents of children in PICU and Ocean Ward are only there because charities such as Wessex Heartbeat and Ronald McDonald provide it NOT the NHS or SGH - one a fast food charity and the other in decline. Its a fair assumption that the money will not be there in the future to pay for the upgrading that is already becoming necessary.
Ragdolly is getting herself(?) confused, the majority of people whose children are treated at Southampton have had to travel immense distances, not because that is their choice but because they have no choice, they go where the treatment is if they need operations! In view of population densities and geographically, it makes far more sense for Option A. Also Ocean Ward amenities and the accommodation offered for parents of children in PICU and Ocean Ward are only there because charities such as Wessex Heartbeat and Ronald McDonald provide it NOT the NHS or SGH - one a fast food charity and the other in decline. Its a fair assumption that the money will not be there in the future to pay for the upgrading that is already becoming necessary. the other side
  • Score: 0

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