HEALTH bosses who led a controversial review that put Southampton’s world renowned children’s heart surgery unit under threat will continue their fight today to overturn a High Court ruling that the process was “unlawful”.

The two-day appeal at London’s High Court began yesterday and is expected to conclude today. However a decision from the judge is not expected to be made this afternoon.

The appeal comes after London’s Royal Brompton Hospital won a legal challenge to quash the four-month consultation that is looking at reducing the UK’s 11 child cardiac units to six or seven after the judge ruled it to be “flawed”.

The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT), which led the review, rejected the outcome and was granted the right to appeal.

If their appeal is successful then the crucial decision over the future of the Southampton General Hospital-based unit is expected to be made in the spring.

But if their bid fails they will be forced to run a second public consultation, which will not take into account the 250,000 signatures collected by the Daily Echo’s Have a Heart petition.

Campaigners, who fought tirelessly during the public consultation last year to show how vital the Southampton unit is, are hoping the appeal is successful so that the 250,000 voices backing the centre will be heard.