A national consultation about the future of children’s congenital heart services has received more than 75,000 responses.
The consultation, one of the largest ever carried out by the NHS, asked people in England to share their views on proposals to pool surgical expertise into fewer larger centres.
The respondents were asked to vote on four configurations for proposed specialist surgical centres outside London.
An independent report, compiled by experts Ipsos MORI, on behalf of NHS Safe and Sustainable, found the most popular option, chosen by personal respondents, would see the new centres located in Newcastle, Liverpool, Leicester, Birmingham and Bristol.
However, organisations responding to the consultation preferred an option proposing centres in Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Southampton.
The final two options, for centres in Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol or Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol, received lower levels of support.
The majority of respondents also supported a proposal to reduce the number of surgical centres in London from three to two and agreed with the proposed choices of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust and Evelina Children’s Hospital.
Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts chair Sir Neil McKay said: “The scale of the response confirms to me the importance of ensuring excellent NHS care for children with congenital heart disease.
“I am heartened by the overwhelming support for the quality standards which are the bedrock of the Safe and Sustainable programme.
“Implementing these new standards will improve the quality of care for children across England.”