WINCHESTER’S MP help to mark a major milestone as plans for a new children’s emergency and trauma department moved a step forward.

The first £1 million of fundraised money in the campaign for a new children’s emergency and trauma department in Southampton has been reached.

The milestone will now unlock the second £500,000 instalment of government funding to take the overall total to £2 million and enable building work on the £4.8 million development at Southampton Children’s Hospital to commence.

As previously reported, the new facility, which is expected to see more than 30,000 youngsters every year from across the south of England, will include a state-of-the-art eight-bed observation area, 11 glass-fronted and sound proof cubicles and on-hand x-ray facilities.

Now the achievement has been celebrated by campaigners and parliamentary under secretary of state for public health and primary care Steve Brine.

Mr Brine, who is also the Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP, visited the hospital last month to mark the milestone.

As part of his visit, Mr Brine took in various cancer services at Southampton General Hospital, including the Macmillan acute oncology and chemotherapy units, with Alison Keen, head of cancer nursing.

He also visited LifeLab, a state-of-the-art laboratory dedicated to improving health and lifestyle education among school pupils and students in the city.

He said: “I was delighted to visit UHS in the week of such an important milestone in the children’s emergency and trauma department appeal, a development I am extremely excited and passionate about.”

And added: “ To also have the opportunity to find out more about Southampton’s excellent oncology service and the innovative LifeLab educational facility demonstrates the breadth of work that is undertaken at the trust.”

To help fund the project, Mr Brine spearheaded a drive with neighbouring MPs to help secure £2 million from then-chancellor George Osborne to be matched with £2 million in fundraising through Southampton Hospital Charity and The Murray Parish Trust.

The total will be met with a further £800,000 allocated by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

James Murray, founder of The Murray Parish Trust, said: ‘’We are delighted to have reached the half-way mark in this appeal and are extremely grateful for all the support on the journey so far. We hope the momentum continues for the final million so that children of the south can benefit from the care and expertise of this pioneering service.’’