CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a children’s heart unit in West Yorkshire have a new hope.
A hospital has been allowed to challenge a “deeply flawed” consultation which led to its children’s heart surgery unit facing closure.
The Royal Brompton Hospital in London has won permission to seek a High Court judicial review over the consultation.
It’s not yet known how it would impact on the validity of the whole consultation process, which includes Yorkshire’s only children’s heart unit, based at Leeds General Infirmary.
The Safe and Sustainable consultation puts Leeds at risk within three of the four options.
Linthwaite mother Gaynor Bearder said it offered them some hope that the consultation process might be scrutinised.
Gaynor’s son Joel was given lifesaving treatment at LGI and he celebrates his fourth birthday today.
Gaynor said: “It does give us a bit of hope.
“We know there had to be a review, throughout the consultation period all we wanted is for it to be transparent and open for everyone.
“If one consultation is flawed we could have a case that others were too.”
Mr Justice Burnett, sitting in London, said he had concluded “with some hesitation” that the foundation trust which runs the London hospital had “an arguable case” that should go to a full hearing.
Bosses there fear the unit’s closure would put the whole hospital at risk.
Its challenge is against the consultation process launched by the Joint Committee of the Primary Care Trusts of England as part of a national review aimed at streamlining paediatric congenital cardiac surgery services.
Alan Maclean QC, appearing for the Royal Brompton, said it was now clear that its centre was going to be “ditched” following an “unfair and unlawful” consultation exercise “shot through with legal error”.
Minds had been made up before the consultation process was completed, and there was “the appearance of bias”, he argued.
A full hearing will take place over three days in September.