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Review starts into children’s heart surgery unit
THE mother of a young York boy whose life was saved by emergency heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) has called on the High Court to save the threatened unit.
Today, a two-day judicial review will begin to challenge the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust’s (JCPCT) decision to close the LGI unit and move services to Newcastle, arguing the consultation process was unfair and legally flawed.
The two other units currently facing closure are at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital and London’s Royal Brompton.
The Brompton recently lost its own application for judicial review.
Cameron’s mother, Jacqui Scott, 32, said that without Leeds, her son “probably wouldn’t be here today”.
“A lot of children aren’t diagnosed before birth so are born in an emergency situation,” she said.
“Look at the amount of people this is going to have an effect on. Plus, Leeds has all its services under one roof – Newcastle doesn’t.”
The legal challenge in the High Court today is being brought by the Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign, which disputes the legality of the JCPCT decision to remove paediatric cardiac services from Leeds and said it will leave Yorkshire with a poorer children’s heart surgery service.
If SOS wins its action there may have to be a rethink on delivering paediatric cardiac surgery nationwide. Sharon Cheng, of SOS, said: “Taking legal action has always been our last resort option, pursued only after all other appeals to review the decision were rejected by the JCPCT.
“We understand and agree with the need to consolidate children’s heart surgery services into fewer centres of excellence. However, closing Leeds and forcing families to travel for hours makes no sense. Leeds has routinely been rated as excellent and has all the facilities needed by critically-ill children and their families on one site.”
Sir Neil McKay, chair of the JCPCT, said: “We listened carefully to the views of the public and of the experts in the field before making our decision, and we concluded that the strongest option for the future configuration of children’s heart surgical services did not include Leeds General Infirmary.”