Heart unit worries

More than 1000 people have joined a Facebook group against the possible closure of Oxford's children's heart surgery unit.

The centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital is one of 11 in England under threat because experts think it would be safer to have fewer, larger centres.

A meeting between patients, their families, staff and health bosses took place in Oxford on Tuesday 15 June 2010 to discuss the Oxford unit's future.  It's one of a series of discussion events taking place across the country.

Maria Crocker from Berinsfield, who has an 8 year old son with a heart condition, has been telling Heart he would have to travel hundreds of miles if the Oxford unit closes.

"We would travel around the world, 50 million times, if that was what was required," she said.  "But I don't think it's reasonable for us to have to do that if the treatment is available in his local area."

Listen to our interview with Maria Crocker

No operations are currently being carried out at Oxford's paediatric cardiac surgery unit because of a separate investigation into four deaths among patients in the space of three months.  Surgery was suspended in March 2010 while the investigation takes place.  Its findings are due to be reported at the end of July.

See the Facebook group