WITH JUST four days left to help save children’s heart surgery in Southampton, campaigners are urging Daily Echo readers to fill in the vital forms that could make the difference.

    Despite the overwhelming backing for the newspaper’s Have a Heart campaign, which saw a historic 240,094 people sign the petition taken to Downing Street last week, latest figures have revealed Southampton is lagging behind when it comes to completing the crucial public consultation response forms.

    These will also be taken into account by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts when it decides how best to scale down the country’s heart units from 11 to six or seven.

    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.

    So to back up the avalanche of support shown by the petition, campaigners are sending out a plea for more people to help put more pressure on health bosses by completing the online consultation form that could prove vital in the decision-making process.

    Every form completed which backs Option B – the only one of four options which contains Southampton – will add weight to the argument that Southampton’s specialist unit must be saved.

    But latest figures have revealed that despite being top of the league when it came to filling out the questionnaires two weeks ago, Southampton has been overtaken by the East Midlands.

    With just four days left to have your say, our region has sent in 6,593 forms, which is more than 3,000 less than the 10,023 form sent in from the East Midlands region.

    Sam Prior,mum-of nine-year-old Aaron who was born with a serious heart defect, said: “The support we have had for the petition has been outstanding but this needs to be validated by the all-important response forms which will be used to help make their final decision.

    “Not every question needs to be filled out and it will only take around 15 minutes to complete online, you just need to show that you want Option B because it is the best for quality.”

    Marcus Haw, consultant cardiac surgeon at Southampton, added: “If people who have signed the petition fill in a form then that would send a very powerful message to those making the decision.

    I cannot stress enough how important these forms are.”

    Open the online consultation website.
    Open guidance notes to help complete the consultation
    .