Children's heart unit campaigners back in action as review panel visits Southampton

Heart unit campaigners back in action as review panel visits Southampton

Heart unit campaigners back in action as review panel visits Southampton

First published in Health Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

CAMPAIGNERS who fought so hard to save children’s heart surgery in Southampton were once again under pressure to prove just how vital the service is to critically ill youngsters across the south.

Just five months after celebrating the news that Southampton’s paediatric cardiac unit had been saved from the axe, surgeons, nurses and parents spent yesterday trying to convince an independent panel that the right decision was made.

Yesterday the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) was at Southampton General Hospital as they continue their review into the decision taken by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) to close three units in the UK.

The review was sparked after two of the three hospitals, Leeds Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, raised concerns over the decision, prompting the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to order a full probe into the decision made in July.

But Sam Prior – one of the mums who celebrated victory in July after a massive campaign to save Southampton’s unit, which culminated in more than 250,000 people signing the Daily Echo’s Have a Heart petition that was taken to Downing Street – believes lives are being put at risk by these “unnecessary” delays.

She said: “Two years ago we asked the then Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, to step in during the consultation process and ensure a fair and open consultation, but he declined. If they had done that then, this further delay would not be necessary. It’s unfair to put us all through this again.

“However, I am confident that we were able to put Southampton’s strong case forward, because when it comes to quality we are the second best in the country and that has never been in doubt.

“In fact we are in an even stronger position than we were when the consultation started because we have a working relationship with Oxford, which is exactly what the review is aspiring to create.”

She added that the panel heard from a number of families who had chosen to have their child treated at Southampton, rather than in London as they wanted their child to received treatment in the best quality centre.

The panel, chaired by Lord Ribeiro, is visiting all ten children’s cardiac centres to “assess” the evidence and “listen” to the views of those involved to ensure the decisions reached were “safe and sustainable” to all patients.

When asked if Southampton would be safe Lord Ribeiro was unable to give any reassurances, saying: “We do not make decisions, we purely provide the Secretary of State with advice based on the evidence undertaken during our review.”

He added that this was not about comparing Southampton with other units and that this was a “listening” process to see if the decision by the JCPCT meant that children with congenital heart disease were getting the quality of care they need. He said: “We can understand that people would be anxious but this is a democratic process.”

The IRP will make recommendations to the Health Secretary by March 28. The final decision on any changes to services will be made by Mr Hunt.

To have your say in the review you can email info@irpanel.org.uk, or write to IRP, 6th Floor, 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SP or leave a voice message on 020 7389 8046.

Comments (6)

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7:52am Wed 19 Dec 12

skeptik says...

Another 'team' we spend so much money on review panels and the like. The white collar equivalent of the hole in the road, two digging and a team of suits in yellow hard hats carrying drawings and warbling into a mobile. One grand hole costs ten grand. The NHS is still a jewel in the crown - sadly it is on route to NHS Plc.
Another 'team' we spend so much money on review panels and the like. The white collar equivalent of the hole in the road, two digging and a team of suits in yellow hard hats carrying drawings and warbling into a mobile. One grand hole costs ten grand. The NHS is still a jewel in the crown - sadly it is on route to NHS Plc. skeptik
  • Score: 0

7:54am Wed 19 Dec 12

sparkster says...

I hope after all the campaigning the heart unit will be saved, we need a heart unit in southampton, who wants to have to travel all the way up to london or elsewhere with small children or adults with heart problems when we have a perfectly capable service here in southampton. I hope this unit is saved once and for all
I hope after all the campaigning the heart unit will be saved, we need a heart unit in southampton, who wants to have to travel all the way up to london or elsewhere with small children or adults with heart problems when we have a perfectly capable service here in southampton. I hope this unit is saved once and for all sparkster
  • Score: 0

10:08am Wed 19 Dec 12

chunky_lover says...

It's so so simple, you tighten up the deadbeat benefit system in this country and distribute the money to people who actually benefit from it - i.e. a children's heart unit.
It's so so simple, you tighten up the deadbeat benefit system in this country and distribute the money to people who actually benefit from it - i.e. a children's heart unit. chunky_lover
  • Score: 0

10:20am Wed 19 Dec 12

Inform Al says...

Atlee's post war gumment introduced the NHS at a time when we were understandably more than just a little strtetched financially, Churchill's gumment then nurtured and improved the NHS. The downhill slide started when COHSE and NUPE forced Babara Castle, the then health minister, to remove most of the income from private medicine and no gumment since has really looked after the NHS. Perhaps the time has come now that we are again financially stretched to renationalise medicine in this country and therefore put the necessary finance into it through private patient income. This will not happen under a gumment that is actualy trying to privatise the NHS through the front door so we will have to wait until after the next election for any chance for this to happen. Personally it is my firm belief that all politicians responsible for the demise of the nations greatest asset should be tried for treason.
Atlee's post war gumment introduced the NHS at a time when we were understandably more than just a little strtetched financially, Churchill's gumment then nurtured and improved the NHS. The downhill slide started when COHSE and NUPE forced Babara Castle, the then health minister, to remove most of the income from private medicine and no gumment since has really looked after the NHS. Perhaps the time has come now that we are again financially stretched to renationalise medicine in this country and therefore put the necessary finance into it through private patient income. This will not happen under a gumment that is actualy trying to privatise the NHS through the front door so we will have to wait until after the next election for any chance for this to happen. Personally it is my firm belief that all politicians responsible for the demise of the nations greatest asset should be tried for treason. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

1:15pm Wed 19 Dec 12

southy says...

The down turn of the NHS started when Ted Heath was PM, and Thatcher was Education minister, and a bigger down turn happened when Thatcher was PM, the NHS do not need any of these high price NHS Trust Boards they cost to much and most are only there for the money.

Life is worth more than any amount of money.
The down turn of the NHS started when Ted Heath was PM, and Thatcher was Education minister, and a bigger down turn happened when Thatcher was PM, the NHS do not need any of these high price NHS Trust Boards they cost to much and most are only there for the money. Life is worth more than any amount of money. southy
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Wed 19 Dec 12

Inform Al says...

southy wrote:
The down turn of the NHS started when Ted Heath was PM, and Thatcher was Education minister, and a bigger down turn happened when Thatcher was PM, the NHS do not need any of these high price NHS Trust Boards they cost to much and most are only there for the money.

Life is worth more than any amount of money.
You are only partly right. The downturn unfortunately started under Wilsons gumment, forced on him by stupid trade union action. As far as the NHS is concerned both the major parties started off right, and both have lately been useless. The difference between the two is that C'moron's lot want to privarise the lot.
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: The down turn of the NHS started when Ted Heath was PM, and Thatcher was Education minister, and a bigger down turn happened when Thatcher was PM, the NHS do not need any of these high price NHS Trust Boards they cost to much and most are only there for the money. Life is worth more than any amount of money.[/p][/quote]You are only partly right. The downturn unfortunately started under Wilsons gumment, forced on him by stupid trade union action. As far as the NHS is concerned both the major parties started off right, and both have lately been useless. The difference between the two is that C'moron's lot want to privarise the lot. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

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