The review of paediatric cardiac surgery is making good progress. Centres offering those services will shortly be asked to submit their proposals for meeting the requirements to be a surgical centre in the future.
There are concerns that the national specialised commissioning group has already decided to reduce the number of units to five and that certain arbitrary assumptions mean that the slightly smaller units will be at risk of closure. Southampton general hospital is internationally respected for its work in this field, so will the Minister assure me that safety outcomes and quality will be the main criteria used in making the decision, not merely the number of procedures a year?
The criteria were defined to secure safe and sustainable paediatric cardiac surgery services. Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust's outcomes show that it is consistently either at the top or very near the top of all performance tables.