A campaign to ensure children’s heart services are retained at Southampton Hospital has received a further boost.
Earlier this year the government announced it was considering moving the services away from Southampton, but IW Council joined partners including NHS IW and thousands of residents who signed a petition in opposing the move.
In June, the council’s Health and Wellbeing Panel endorsed the option to retain the children’s heart services, arguing that Southampton Hospital was the only facility that could meet the needs of Island patients including critically ill children within agreed time limits.
Now, the council has received a copy of letter sent to the Joint Committee of PCTs – the body that will make the final decision.
The letter, sent from the NHS’s Safe and Sustainable Programme Director, acknowledges that should the service move from Southampton, then critically ill children from the Isle of Wight may not be able to be transported to medical facilities in London or Bristol within stipulated time limits.
This key piece of information will be considered in the final report before the Joint Committee of PCT’s makes its final decision later this year.
Margaret Webster, Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel Chair, said “This is very important and encouraging news as it recognises that critically ill children from the Isle of Wight would be at greater risk should the Southampton heart facility move.
“While this does not mean that the children’s heart services at Southampton Hospital are safe, it is a very big step in the right direction and it shows those behind the proposals are listening to the concerns.”
The letter will be discussed by members at the next meeting of Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel on Wednesday 7 September