Mum’s fear over cardiac unit closure

HOR 010411 - Ann Hall  - daughter Emily who is having cardiac operations at Southampton but unit may close. She is campaigning to save the ward. photo by derek martin

HOR 010411 - Ann Hall - daughter Emily who is having cardiac operations at Southampton but unit may close. She is campaigning to save the ward. photo by derek martin

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A MUM from Five Oaks has warned of the knock-on effect if a children’s cardiac unit which saved her daughter’s life is closed.

Last month the County Times reported the story of Anne Hall, of Furze View, who is backing a campaign to save the unit at Southampton General Hospital.

When she 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.

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 .

The consultation ends on July 1 and Anne is urging people to make their views known saying the move could potentially hit every parent adding: “I don’t think people realise the impact it’s going to have.”

She said the intensive care beds - of which there are currently 13 at the hospital - were so reliant on cardiac surgery that if the unit closed half the beds could be lost.

“Any parent who has a child in intensive care if the London hospitals are full, they will end up going up north.”

She said the loss of these beds would result in the hospital’s retrieval service being axed as there would not be enough intensive care beds to justify it. The service sends a qualified specialist team from Southampton’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to the local hospital in a specialist ambulance and then stabilises the child and transfers them to the Southampton PICU.

People are being urged to vote for option B which keeps Southampton as one of the cardiac centres.

“If it keeps its cardiac cases, it keeps its intensive care beds and its retrieval team,” she added.

People can make their views known by visiting www.ipsos-mori.com/safeandsustainable

Parents, families, politicians and medical experts have all joined a campaign to save the Southampton unit. For more information visit www.oceanward.co.uk

A text service is also available for people to air their views and support Southampton. Its free of charge, all they have to do is text HEART to 85001 and then they will get a reply asking their views. All they have to reply is ‘I vote Option B’.