AN online audience will see health experts decide on the future of a children’s heart unit.
Families in Huddersfield are expected to join the internet audience when the decision is taken whether or not to shut the unit at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).
Hundreds of parents, families and health professionals have fought to keep children’s heart services in Yorkshire and they will find out whether their campaign has been successful on July 4.
And the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT), who are set to make the decision on the future of the UK’s congenital heart services, will stream the meeting in public.
Many thousands of people in Huddersfield signed petitions to keep the unit at Leeds General Infirmary open as families in the area have benefited.
Youngsters Joel Bearder and Ben Pogson are just two who received life-saving surgery at the centre.
But the JCPCT have been reviewing four options which will reduce the number of hospitals providing children’s heart surgery from 11 to six or seven.
Only one option includes retaining the LGI unit.
Should the committee wish to close LGI, it could mean that patients from the region will have to travel to the Freeman hospital in Newcastle or Alder Hey Children’s Centre in Liverpool to receive treatment.
The meeting can be viewed by logging on to the Safe and Sustainable web pages.
Through this, people can watch the JCPCT in its final deliberations before agreeing the future configuration of congenital heart networks in England, including which centres will continue to provide children’s heart surgery.
Chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts Sir Neil McKay said: “July 4 will be a milestone for the future of children’s congenital heart services and we want to ensure that the many people who took the time to respond during consultation are able to view this important decision-making meeting.
“Children, parents and staff have waited too long for change. We need the highest quality of care to be available to all children born with complex heart conditions.
“This is a difficult but necessary decision which will be made only after careful consideration of the consultation responses, including other options, and all the relevant evidence available to us.”
Over the next few weeks parent groups and charities, hospitals, professional associations and other interested groups will be asked to nominate representatives to attend the meeting in public.
Further details on how to view the meeting online, along with a full agenda, will be made available soon at: