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  • "AAll, the safe and sustainable team are actually testing whether it is true that option a is 'better for the country' (page 93), as it is possible option b could score more highly. The situation has moved on a lot from that presented in the consultation document, as I am sure it has at all centres, and I believe they have a lot of new evidence to consider.

    I don't believe that higher quality care does not translate into better outcomes, particularly together with an outstanding picu service and good research and innovation but I guess we will have to disagree! I agree a learning curve is a downside of the changes whether it be from relocation of ecmo from Leicester, reduction of picu services and research from southampton or changes as a result of stopping surgery at any of the centres. I don't envy the decision makers who will be devastating a lot of parents whatever the outcome. I also don't believe it is a south versus midlands thing, we all want the best outcome, whether it is 2 centres in the midland, 2 in the south or something entirely different! We are from the midlands but currently live in the south and would prefer to have excellent care in both places! Patients should be able to choose where they go, particularly those between centres but I would choose the highest quality centre for my child's needs every time."
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225,000 people sign Daily Echo petition to save Southampton's cardiac unit

Toby Nash and Nancy Laverty, who are patients at Southampton hospital’s children’s cardiac E1 unit, with the 225,000 signature strong petition.

Toby Nash and Nancy Laverty, who are patients at Southampton hospital’s children’s cardiac E1 unit, with the 225,000 signature strong petition.

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

225,000 people all with the same message – save children’s heart surgery in Southampton.

Today the Daily Echo can reveal the final total amount of signatures on our Have a Heart petition, just 24 hours before the fight to save the specialist unit at Southampton General Hospital is taken to Downing Street and the doorstep of Number 10.

In just 17 weeks an overwhelming 225,000 people have put pen to paper, sending a clear message to health bosses that when it comes to the lives of our children, quality of care is paramount.

Unlike other units that are fighting for survival Southampton is the only one that can boast being the second best in the country, as rated by a panel of experts.

And this has seen support flood in from families, schools, businesses, hospital staff, politicians and even Britain’s top heart expert, all backing the campaign to see surgery at Southampton stay.

The level of support has astounded hospital chief Mark Hackett, who hopes the sheer number of signatures will leave health bosses in no doubt about how valued and vital the world-renowned unit is.

Take Part in the Consultation
Click here to help save the heart unit.
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.

Mr Hackett, chief executive of Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have consistently stated how support for the campaign to keep children’s heart surgery in Southampton, particularly the Daily Echo’s Have a Heart petition, has been remarkable, but this achievement takes us to another level – it is truly astounding.

“More than 225,000 people have signed up because they believe quality and excellence take priority above all else when it comes to the care of children with complex heart conditions and we remain hopeful that this resounding message resonates through from Downing Street to the Safe and Sustainable team.”

Despite being ranked the second best in the country our paediatric heart unit is under threat as health chiefs look to cut the UK’s 11 centres down to six or seven.

Southampton was featured in just one of four options which will be put out for public consultation, before the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) makes its final decision.

If Southampton closed, families would be forced to get life-saving treatment in London or Bristol, at units which experts say fell below the “exemplary”

standards that the city boasts.

The tremendous support has also seen the Have a Heart campaign become one of the most successful regional press petitions in recent history.

Lynne Anderson, Newspaper Society communications director, said: “The Southern Daily Echo’s campaign to save the local children’s cardiac care unit is a truly outstanding example of the regional press doing what it does best – campaigning on the issues that matter to its readers and giving them a powerful voice.

“Securing 225,000 signatures is a remarkable effort and one of the largest numbers we are aware of in recent years for a regional press petition.”

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