article, mentioning the postcode lottery for more advanced medical procedures, I read with some concern last night in the Echo" />

Postcode Lottery for Vital Heart Ops.

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The paper reported that the local strategic health authority has decided that the procedure of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) should remain a low priority, meaning that funding for the procedure on the NHS is extremely difficult to obtain. The South Central region, including Southampton, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight, is one of only two in the country to give the procedure, which can vastly improve and extend the lives of pensioners too ill to undergo open heart surgery, such a low priority.

Surely the case of Elsie Pearce, 92, whose quality of life has been vastly improved since undergoing the procedure a year ago, and others like her, should be sufficient to provide the evidence of cost-effectiveness that the Committee requires

At a time when Southampton General Hospital is engaged in a major campaign which is greatly supported by local people, to retain its specialist paediatric cardiac unit, it seems a real shame that the services made available to older patients are open to criticism on the grounds of cost.

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Kym Provan

Senior Solicitor - Clinical Negligence Team

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