CAMPAIGNERS trying to save children’s heart surgery services in Yorkshire from the axe have won a key battle.
But the future of the Leeds unit is far from clear and rests on a further High Court decision at the end of the month.
Worried patients, charities and MPs have been fighting against a decision to stop children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.
The decision last July, an outcome of the NHS’ Safe and Sustainable Review, said care should be concentrated at fewer, larger sites.
But campaign group Save Our Surgery (SOS) said the consultation process that made the decision had been flawed.
Yesterday, High Court Judge, Nicola Davies, ruled in their favour.
Linthwaite mum, Gaynor Bearder, one of the lead campaigners for SOS, said she was “in shock” but delighted they had been “proven correct”.
And Gaynor revealed her son Joel, five, had only just returned from another life-saving operation at the Leeds-based unit.
She said: “It’s good to be proven that everything we said about the consultation being flawed was right.
“It was an unlawful process.
“This is a step in the right direction.
“We’re certainly not safe but it throws a spanner in the works of Safe and Sustainable.”
Nearly 600,000 people signed a petition against the Leeds closure.
It would have meant young heart patients from West Yorkshire having to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for treatment.
SOS spokeswoman, Sharon Cheng, said the ruling was “a victory for the people who fought to keep children’s heart surgery services in Yorkshire”.
She said: “Winning this case in the High Court proves once and for all that the supposed consultation was a rubber stamping exercise conducted with an outcome in mind, with clinicians, MPs and patients fooled into feeling they had influence.
“This action was taken by parents and clinicians who simply could not stand by and watch a clear injustice being done.
“This ruling supports our firm belief that patients’ needs should be at the forefront in determining where heart surgery services are located.