IT'S the burning issue that has stirred up a whopper of a storm.

When hospital chiefs revealed that after almost 20 years they were planning to axe Burger King from the foyer of Southampton General Hospital they probably expected a resounding thumbs-up.

But they might well be surprised at the storm of controversy it has generated - with patients past and present so angered that now they're campaigning to save it.

The Daily Echo has been inundated with comments of support for the fast food outlet since we exclusively revealed on Saturday that bosses at the Tremona Road site would not be renewing its lease.

Among them was dad of one Brett Phillips, who is now spearheading a petition to try and get Trust bosses to change their mind.

He said his wife Kerry has been to the hospital on numerous occasions over the past six years, and most recently had to take their two-year-old Mia to A&E.

He said: “The petition is not just to keep Burger King, I believe it is more so the quality of the food that the hospital provides.

“The food is of a poor standard. Burger King seems to have a much higher quality of food that's cooked fresh and to order.”

As reported, the presence of Burger King has previously drawn criticism from health organisations and even been brought up in Parliament.

Now hospital chiefs have decided it no longer fits with the “healthcare environment” it is trying to create in its main reception area and said they would not be renewing the lease when it expires in 2016.

They say the closure of the fast food outlet is part of a wider project that will see the reception and waiting area transformed, with work starting on the project next year.

And their decision has already received praise from health organisations and even celebrity doctor and Hampshire GP Dr Hilary Jones who said, in the grip of an obesity problem in the UK, hospitals should be setting a good example to patients.

Mr Phillips added: “It's not just to save Burger King but to urge Southampton General Hospital into getting its act together and provide something decent.”

To sign the petition, click here.