Children’s heart surgery campaigners celebrate as decision to close Leeds deferred
CAMPAIGNERS fighting the closure of a children’s heart surgery unit in Leeds are celebrating after the decision was deferred for a second review.
Earlier this month health officials acting for primary care trusts across England and Wales concluded Leeds should stop surgery so care could be concentrated at fewer, larger sites.
It meant that young heart patients from West Yorkshire would have to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for treatment.
The decision caused uproar among patients, former patients, children’s charities and MPs.
Now the unit could be saved after the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee watchdog, which represents councils across Yorkshire and the Humber region, ruled the decision should be looked at again.
The change of heart came after hundreds of parents and children protested at Millennium Square outside the hospital.
Gaynor Bearder, of Linthwaite, whose son Joel underwent lifesaving surgery at the Leeds unit, travelled to the meeting yesterday to speak in favour of keeping it open.
She said: “It’s the answer that we wanted.
“The bottom line was the health and safety committee are not satisfied that the proposals are safe for our children.
“They’ve had both sides’ information and they’ve deemed it needs further investigation and I think that says volumes.
“The initial investigation was flawed and vital facts were ignored.