Meeting over Oxford children's heart surgery plan

John Radcliffe Hospital
Image caption John Radcliffe Hospital stopped children's heart surgery following the deaths of four children

A public meeting is to be held to discuss a recommendation that Oxford's specialist children's heart surgery unit is to be closed.

An NHS review looked at 11 units across England amid concerns expertise was being spread too thinly.

It has published four options - all of which would see Oxford's unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital unit closed.

A meeting on 4 May at the Kassam Stadium will give people the chance to discuss the impact of the plans.

Fears have been raised that the loss of the Oxford unit will force patients to travel long distances for treatment, especially if Southampton's unit is also shut.

Decision in autumn

The John Radcliffe Hospital had already stopped surgery following the deaths of four children during surgery at the unit between December 2009 and February last year.

But the review has recommended that it does not restart operations.

The proposals have been put out for public consultation with a final decision made in the autumn.

But it could be 2013 before all the units finally stop doing surgery.

The review, set up by the National Specialised Commissioning Group, which is in charge of child heart units, recommended a minimum of four surgeons per unit, which means at least four hospitals will stop doing operations.

The four options are to keep units opened at either:

  • Newcastle, Liverpool, Leicester, Birmingham, Bristol plus two in London
  • Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton plus two in London
  • Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol plus two in London
  • Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham plus two in London

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