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The future of children's heart surgery at Southampton General Hospital has been secured.
A big sigh of relief for the campaigners fighting to save the children's heart unit at Southampton General Hospital.
It's been announced - after a review taking more than a year - that surgery's going to stay there. Instead three other specialist centres will close, in Leicester, Leeds and at the Royal Brompton in London.
In a statement, the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said:
"We are delighted with the announcement today that the future of children’s heart surgery at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has been guaranteed.
"This is a landmark moment for the Southampton and Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust partnership, which is now able to continue to deliver a high quality service for children with heart disease in the South of England, while ensuring families in all areas have access to excellent local care.
"Throughout the review, the public confirmed that quality outweighed all other criteria when it came to deciding the future of the service and, as one of the country’s leading centres, we are pleased to see this has been reflected in the final decision."
Mark Hackett, chief executive, said:
“This is fantastic news for our patients and their families and we have been overwhelmed by the support we have received across the country. We would like to thank all those who supported us throughout the consultation to safeguard this service for future generations.
“In the future, there will no doubt be more national reviews of services and we need to keep quality at the centre of the way we shape, guide and decide location.”
Hospitals in Leicester, Leeds and the Royal Brompton in London are to stop performing heart surgery on children.
In a move to streamline paediatric heart services, three of the 10 specialist units in England will stop performing such procedures on children.
The move comes after an NHS review which concluded that expertise was spread too thinly in the 10 sites and should be concentrated in fewer hospitals.
The Royal Brompton in Chelsea, west London, Leeds General Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester will not stop providing surgery immediately as plans to implement the new streamlined service are still being developed.
It is understood that the hospitals will continue to provide the specialist procedures throughout 2013.
Once they stop providing surgery the units will still see patients for diagnosis, monitoring and non-surgical treatment.