CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save children's heart surgery in Southampton have the chance to have their say this week.

Despite being saved from the chop two years ago, the future of Southampton General Hospital's children's heart unit is once again in doubt as the Government carries out its new consultation into paediatric heart surgery across the UK.

In theory the new proposals could see all ten units - including the one at Southampton - stay open but that can only happen if all centres meet the new standards and that will mean more investment by already cash-strapped hospital trusts.

As part of this new consultation, which also looks at adult heart surgery, NHS England is hosting an exhibition-style event on Thursday where patients, parents and members of the public can find out more about the latest plans and have their say.

As reported, the consultation comes after previous plans to concentrate surgery in seven centres - which included Southampton - and axe three others were scrapped.

Southampton's unit, which had been hailed the second best in the country, had been saved from the chop, after months of campaigning which saw more than 250,000 people sign the Daily Echo's Have a Heart petition to prevent the unit from closure.

Mr Nicola Viola, a consultant congenital cardiac surgeon, said: “We remain extremely grateful for the support given to our clinicians, department and patients by so many people during the initial NHS review and consultation.

“The service has continued to grow and develop since then and, as we can see from the latest surgical outcome data, it stands firmly among the best performing centres in the country and across the UK.

“But the process is still not complete and the future remains unclear, so we would encourage as many people as possible with an interest in our service to show their support and attend the event or submit responses through the hospital or NHS England websites.”

The exhibition-style event, which will take place at Southampton Solent University from 2pm to 7pm, will include panel displays, audio-visual materials and an opportunity to talk to review team members.

To register for the event visit