Parent’s fight closure of children’s heart unit
Parents have said that they will fight plans to close a children’s heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.
NHS bosses concluded a meeting yesterday by saying that that surgery at the unit will end so that larger sites can concentrate on providing care.
However, the decision is being fought against because it means that parents in Yorkshire and the Humber will have to take their stricken children to hospitals in Liverpool and Newcastle.
“We will not give up,” Steph Ward from Leeds told BBC News. Her three-year-old son Lyall Cookward needs further surgery in the future for his heart problems.
So far a petition against the closure of the unit has garnered more than 600,000 signatures.
Mike Collier, chairman of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "I can't say how disappointed we all are.
"The big question remains, how can a fully functioning unit... with the massive support of the people of Yorkshire, how on earth can you close that and move it somewhere else?
"On geography and population density alone the case for Leeds remains as strong as ever.
"We will now carefully consider, with our supporters, what action to take."
Lisa Mulherin, a Leeds City councillor has joined the chorus of criticism for the NHS’s decision, saying that it will have a "serious and detrimental impact on ill and vulnerable children across the region”.
Children’s heart surgery units at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital and Royal Brompton in London will also close as part of the plans.
A joint statement by the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery said: "All surgeons want to be able to deliver the best quality of care for every patient.
"While we understand that people do not want to see the unit that is close to them close, the extensive review process indicates that improvements are achievable by concentrating children's heart surgery in fewer, larger units in England."