225,000 people sign Daily Echo petition to save Southampton's cardiac unit

Daily Echo: 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.

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.

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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.”

Comments (9)

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4:47pm Tue 21 Jun 11

AAll says...

Just for the completion of the information the public has to know, as the journalists from this newspaper always forget to mention, Option B is the second best option for the country, as recognised by the review.
In Option B there would be 4 unit south of Watford Gap, 1 unit for the whole midlands (11 millions), 1 unit for the North east and 1 unit for the North west.
It also means that specialised servised will have to close and reopen somewhere else, with increasing costs.
That why option B also does not score very well in affordability.
Thanks
Just for the completion of the information the public has to know, as the journalists from this newspaper always forget to mention, Option B is the second best option for the country, as recognised by the review. In Option B there would be 4 unit south of Watford Gap, 1 unit for the whole midlands (11 millions), 1 unit for the North east and 1 unit for the North west. It also means that specialised servised will have to close and reopen somewhere else, with increasing costs. That why option B also does not score very well in affordability. Thanks AAll

5:10pm Tue 21 Jun 11

No_Fuss says...

Where can I sign ? Hope they keep it open.... also we should as a nation get behind our NHS !
Where can I sign ? Hope they keep it open.... also we should as a nation get behind our NHS ! No_Fuss

9:37pm Tue 21 Jun 11

becky s says...

AAll wrote:
Just for the completion of the information the public has to know, as the journalists from this newspaper always forget to mention, Option B is the second best option for the country, as recognised by the review. In Option B there would be 4 unit south of Watford Gap, 1 unit for the whole midlands (11 millions), 1 unit for the North east and 1 unit for the North west. It also means that specialised servised will have to close and reopen somewhere else, with increasing costs. That why option B also does not score very well in affordability. Thanks
In terms of healthcare, affordability cannot always be measured purely in the costs of moving a service from one location to another. There will be a lot of changes at all centres as a result of the changes decided by the review but the cost of closing a very successful centre with high survival rates in favour of a lower performing unit in terms of potential decreases in survival rates and additional complications should surely also be taken into account. It seems ludicrous that 3 of the 4 proposals suggest closing 2 of the top 4 centres!

Two of the 4 centres 'south of the watford gap' serve London and some of these centres already treat patients from the Midlands. As a parent of a child with a heart condition, quality of care is the most important factor for me.
[quote][p][bold]AAll[/bold] wrote: Just for the completion of the information the public has to know, as the journalists from this newspaper always forget to mention, Option B is the second best option for the country, as recognised by the review. In Option B there would be 4 unit south of Watford Gap, 1 unit for the whole midlands (11 millions), 1 unit for the North east and 1 unit for the North west. It also means that specialised servised will have to close and reopen somewhere else, with increasing costs. That why option B also does not score very well in affordability. Thanks[/p][/quote]In terms of healthcare, affordability cannot always be measured purely in the costs of moving a service from one location to another. There will be a lot of changes at all centres as a result of the changes decided by the review but the cost of closing a very successful centre with high survival rates in favour of a lower performing unit in terms of potential decreases in survival rates and additional complications should surely also be taken into account. It seems ludicrous that 3 of the 4 proposals suggest closing 2 of the top 4 centres! Two of the 4 centres 'south of the watford gap' serve London and some of these centres already treat patients from the Midlands. As a parent of a child with a heart condition, quality of care is the most important factor for me. becky s

10:16pm Tue 21 Jun 11

TheJeepster says...

Two hundred and twenty five thousand.

That's almost everyone in the city then..are you listening Davy!
Two hundred and twenty five thousand. That's almost everyone in the city then..are you listening Davy! TheJeepster

12:21am Wed 22 Jun 11

LottieS says...

Hi AAll,
You need to be clear what you mean by 'best'. If you mean 'most affordable' we could close them all down and save a lot of money.
However, to most people, 'best' means 'highest quality'.
The comparison of options A and B on page 115 of the review states that option A risks quality, research and innovation and paediatric intensive care units. The 3 risks identified for option B are: 2.8% more people's journey times would increase by more than they would under option A, they haven't worked out the viability of networks (Southampton's has already been proved, therefore not a risk), and that the ECMO specialised service would need to be relocated from Leicester (no longer the case because Southampton has introduced ECMO since the report was written).
Why would anyone think that option A was better for the country than option B?
Hi AAll, You need to be clear what you mean by 'best'. If you mean 'most affordable' we could close them all down and save a lot of money. However, to most people, 'best' means 'highest quality'. The comparison of options A and B on page 115 of the review states that option A risks quality, research and innovation and paediatric intensive care units. The 3 risks identified for option B are: 2.8% more people's journey times would increase by more than they would under option A, they haven't worked out the viability of networks (Southampton's has already been proved, therefore not a risk), and that the ECMO specialised service would need to be relocated from Leicester (no longer the case because Southampton has introduced ECMO since the report was written). Why would anyone think that option A was better for the country than option B? LottieS

11:04am Wed 22 Jun 11

AAll says...

For Becky.
First of all, all the centres, excluding Oxford, offer high quality standards in the 95 confidence interval, it means what make the difference is a NOT survival or complications, as someone would like to say misleading the whole conversation.
Quality, in this review, is not better survival.
Closing Glenfield Hospital will mean closing the largest (170) ECMO (respiratory and cardiac - neonatal and adult) centre in the world. It mean that this service, which saved hundred of lifes, will be lost. The results will be that Birmingham Children Hospital will have to provide the service and build it from scratch. How many lifes will be lost in the next 5-10 years to build up that experience?
I regard Southampton as a very good unit, as all the other units in the country. We need to find a way that is the best for the nation and not just for the south. It seems that the review has identified Option A the highest scoring option over option B which falls well behind.
For Becky. First of all, all the centres, excluding Oxford, offer high quality standards in the 95 confidence interval, it means what make the difference is a NOT survival or complications, as someone would like to say misleading the whole conversation. Quality, in this review, is not better survival. Closing Glenfield Hospital will mean closing the largest (170) ECMO (respiratory and cardiac - neonatal and adult) centre in the world. It mean that this service, which saved hundred of lifes, will be lost. The results will be that Birmingham Children Hospital will have to provide the service and build it from scratch. How many lifes will be lost in the next 5-10 years to build up that experience? I regard Southampton as a very good unit, as all the other units in the country. We need to find a way that is the best for the nation and not just for the south. It seems that the review has identified Option A the highest scoring option over option B which falls well behind. AAll

11:47am Wed 22 Jun 11

AAll says...

LottieS,
I woul like to unswer your question first: Why would anyone think that option A was better for the country than option B?
Now one thinks that option A is better. It is a fact. It scores higher then option B (pag 93). Option A 314/320;
option B 284/320.
For the ECMO debate, Southampton won't take over the largest ECMO in the world, they are not commissioned to do so (Read above comment).
At page 84 it is clearly stated that Bristol and Southampton are not viable in the same option, hence the worries that, despite the Oxford group of patients (who consultent the public in Oxford if they wanted to travel down to Southampton?), Southampton is not able to reach the 500 cases.
LottieS, I woul like to unswer your question first: Why would anyone think that option A was better for the country than option B? Now one thinks that option A is better. It is a fact. It scores higher then option B (pag 93). Option A 314/320; option B 284/320. For the ECMO debate, Southampton won't take over the largest ECMO in the world, they are not commissioned to do so (Read above comment). At page 84 it is clearly stated that Bristol and Southampton are not viable in the same option, hence the worries that, despite the Oxford group of patients (who consultent the public in Oxford if they wanted to travel down to Southampton?), Southampton is not able to reach the 500 cases. AAll

1:09pm Wed 22 Jun 11

kirbyna says...

Wish I had known they were going today as I only posted my petition yesterday, took me ages to get 300 signatures.
Wish I had known they were going today as I only posted my petition yesterday, took me ages to get 300 signatures. kirbyna

8:10pm Wed 22 Jun 11

becky s says...

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.
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. becky s

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