HEALTH – CHILDREN'S HEART UNIT IN SOUTHAMPTON – 22 November 2011
Dr Julian Lewis: I fully appreciate the degree of independence that Ministers must preserve, but is there anything that this Minister can say on the methodology of the review to reassure the children's heart unit at Southampton general hospital, which is rated the best in the country outside London, given that the review was, at one stage, excluding the entire population of the Isle of Wight in its calculations as to whether or not the unit should be in more than one of the four options being put forward?
[The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr Simon Burns): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his question, although I will disappoint him by saying that I will not be led from my chosen path and start to voice an opinion. I will say, as I did say during the earlier debate that he attended, that of course it is not set in stone that there will be only four options chosen, as and when – the number could be more. That is dependent on the consultations and the decision of the JCPCT, but he will appreciate that I cannot seek to influence those decisions.]