Children’s heart surgery in Leeds will be axed – despite a 600,000-strong petition supporting the facilities at Leeds General Infirmary.
Hospitals in Leicester, Leeds and the Royal Brompton in London are to stop performing heart surgery on children, it was announced yesterday.
There are currently 10 units in England but they are being ‘streamlined’ in order to focus the specialist services at fewer locations. Seven will remain.
The move comes after an NHS review which concluded that expertise was spread too thinly in the 10 sites and should be concentrated in fewer hospitals. It will result in patients who currently go to Leeds General Informary having to go to to Newcastle instead.
Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn, whose constituency covers inner south Leeds, said:
“This is devastating news. It will come as a great blow both to the surgeons and staff at the LGI Children’s Heart Surgery Unit and to the 5.2 million people in Yorkshire and the Humber, Lincolnshire and North Derbyshire who are served so well by the Unit. Parents now face the prospect of significant distress and cost in having to travel to Newcastle or other facilities at an already difficult time in their family life.
“But we are not giving up. We must now get all of our local authority Scrutiny and Overview Committees to ask the Health Secretary to refer this decision to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and urge it to do the right thing by keeping the Unit open.”
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