A JUDGE has ordered a hearing of a new legal challenge to proposals to change the provision of children’s heart surgery in England, which includes the stopping of operations at Leeds General Infirmary.

Children in the area, including many from Huddersfield and Calderdale will instead have to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for surgery.

Campaign group Save Our Surgery (SOS) is seeking a judicial review to keep paediatric cardiac surgery at Leeds and argues the consultation process was unfair.

If SOS wins its action, the proposed changes countrywide will be affected.

Yesterday, SOS lawyers asked Judge Mackie QC, a deputy judge at the High Court in London, to delay their court application against the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) proposals in the light of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision last month to order a full review of the JCPCT recommendations.

Dinah Rose QC, representing the JCPCT, argued the case should come for hearing as quickly as possible to avoid further delay, which was already damaging children’s heart services.

Judge Mackie dismissed the SOS application for a stay and instead said its challenge should be expedited and heard over two days before February 15, weeks before the Independent Reconfiguration Panel reports to Mr Hunt.