Mother campaigns to save cardiac unit

Mother Anne Hall with three-year-old Emily, who had life-saving heart surgery at Southampton General Hospital
Mother Anne Hall with three-year-old Emily, who had life-saving heart surgery at Southampton General Hospital

A MOTHER from Five Oaks is backing a campaign to stop the closure of a children’s cardiac unit, which saved her daughter’s life.

When Anne Hall gave birth to her first child Emily in 2008, she was devastated to discover her little girl had a hole in her heart.

Like many children with cardiac problems, living south of Horsham, she was referred to Southampton General Hospital for surgery.

Three-year-old Emily, will have to return for further surgery later this year.

But the children’s heart unit is now at risk of closing as health chiefs look to cut the UK’s 11 centres down to six or seven, despite it being ranked the second best in the country.

Anne said: “When you have a child who is just a few months old and you are told that they have got to have heart surgery it’s the worst feeling.

“They are so small and I thought that we were going to lose her.

“The staff at Southampton were absolutely superb, you just can’t fault them.”

As well as providing much-needed support to Anne and her husband Johnathan, the hospital also provided free on-site accommodation so the family could stay together, whilst Emily spent time in hospital.

Anne added: “Being able to stay near Emily meant so much to us. Many hospitals allow one parent to stay on the ward but to be able to live on site was great for parents, especially those who couldn’t afford to keep travelling.”

Anne believes the surgery will be carried out at Southampton but is concerned that other parents with poorly children will not have that option in the future.

What are your experiences of children’s cardiac care in Sussex? Leave your comments below or email becky.churcher@sussexnewspapers.co.uk

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