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Children's heart surgery review ordered by Health Secretary
HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered a review of a controversial decision to close three children's heart surgery units, including the one at Leeds General Infirmary which is used by York patients.
The Independent Reconfiguration Panel has been asked to carry out the review and decide by February whether it believes the recommendations to close the units will streamline paediatric heart services.
The review comes after councillors in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire raised concerns with Mr Hunt about the closure of a unit at Glenfield, Leicestershire, and after a campaign group fighting to keep the Leeds unit open launched legal proceedings against NHS officials who made the decision.
Save Our Surgery (SOS) said it had filed for permission for a judicial review of the decision made by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) to close the unit. If the judicial review goes ahead, the IRP review will be put on hold.
Under the original plans, surgery was to be concentrated in a few specialist centres to ensure quality of care, with Yorkshire patients going to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle instead of Leeds, but campaigners have said the move would leave parents of seriously ill children in York facing longer journey times.