Campaign call for two children's heart surgery units

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter

HEART surgery for children should continue in Yorkshire as well as Newcastle, according to county council health chiefs, who say neither hospital should lose out.

Jim Clark, chairman of North Yorkshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, said there should now be a campaign to maintain surgery at both sites.

His plea comes following Thursday’s High Court decision to uphold a challenge to the fairness of an NHS plan to move the life-saving service from Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Coun Clark said: “It is still vital that we continue to lobby to keep both Newcastle and Leeds. The cardiac unit at Leeds General Infirmary serves a very large geographic area, and it is totally unreasonable to expect people to travel three hours or more to get the kind of cardiac care to which they are entitled.”

He said: “We have said to the Secretary of State for Health that neither Leeds nor Newcastle is broken, and neither needs fixing. The retention of both is essential to ensure that patient care continues to be delivered in the most effective way possible.”

Meanwhile, the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle said it was confident the original decision to centre paediatric surgery services there would “in due course be upheld”.

The centre of the recent legal battle has been the argument that Yorkshire families would have much further to travel in emergency situations if services were moved from Leeds to the Tyneside.

A spokesman for the Freeman said: “We are disappointed that the implementation of the review will be further delayed by this litigation.

"However we remain confident that the original decision will in due course be upheld and the Freeman Hospital will be one of the designated centres providing specialist children’s cardiac surgery, for which our performance and very high quality is recognised internationally.”

Comments (3)

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10:30pm Sat 9 Mar 13

topumpire1 says...

It really annoys me that the review of child heart units to IMPROVE services, by CUTTING the number of units, keeps saying that it will improve services and save money. WRONG!! all that this will do is COST lives not money. Look at the facts: 1/ IF all children from Yorkshire (say York, for example) have to travel to Newcastle (or Liverpool) - (instead of Leeds) their journey times will be increased & the cost of travelling will also INCREASE.
2/ How many patients are currently treated at Newcastle ? as opposed to Leeds? Reports say that Leeds has thousands, whilst Newcastle's can be counted in double figures.
How can it be cost effective sending more children to Newcastle rather than far fewer the other way?
The ONLY reason that this Tory led (sorry CONservative) government want to keep Newcastle & close Leeds is political!! to appease the Geordie swing voters away from Labour, They have NO chancve of doing so in Leeds & west Yorkshire!!
It really annoys me that the review of child heart units to IMPROVE services, by CUTTING the number of units, keeps saying that it will improve services and save money. WRONG!! all that this will do is COST lives not money. Look at the facts: 1/ IF all children from Yorkshire (say York, for example) have to travel to Newcastle (or Liverpool) - (instead of Leeds) their journey times will be increased & the cost of travelling will also INCREASE. 2/ How many patients are currently treated at Newcastle ? as opposed to Leeds? Reports say that Leeds has thousands, whilst Newcastle's can be counted in double figures. How can it be cost effective sending more children to Newcastle rather than far fewer the other way? The ONLY reason that this Tory led (sorry CONservative) government want to keep Newcastle & close Leeds is political!! to appease the Geordie swing voters away from Labour, They have NO chancve of doing so in Leeds & west Yorkshire!! topumpire1
  • Score: 0

3:38am Sun 10 Mar 13

Magicman! says...

Plus if you look at the map of centres staying open, there are two or three in the London area, all within about a 10 mile radius, which are being kept open... so apparently down south it's OK to keep two centres open that are close to each other, but up north where resources are already spread out they want to spread it out even more thinly.
Plus if you look at the map of centres staying open, there are two or three in the London area, all within about a 10 mile radius, which are being kept open... so apparently down south it's OK to keep two centres open that are close to each other, but up north where resources are already spread out they want to spread it out even more thinly. Magicman!
  • Score: 0

9:22am Sun 10 Mar 13

Digeorge says...

I would support this BUT those children who have complex heart problems and the surgeons know that they cannot do their operations should be transferred to Newcastle so that they get the best care.

I am not the only case where this has happened and should have happened recently far earlier for one child. It is sad to hear that it is STILL happening

It is a degree of honesty as to what you can an cannot do and the limits of competency.

I am also concerned about the issue of Bristol and what is happening there at the present time and yet the care Quality Commission appear to be doing nothing about it.

I moved my care which is highly complex to Newcastle as fed up with delayed reporting of results and every time I have forgiven them and then it happens again. This has been 20 years for me.

I hope that the next generation of children and those with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (which is 10-15% of all children with congenital heart disease) get a better care than me or my son who died at that hospital in 2000 who is part of those figures. The consensus document has now been published in relation to that and I hope that all those hospitals that have been nominated will follow it and implement their care appropriately and not just leave them in the cardiology department.
I would support this BUT those children who have complex heart problems and the surgeons know that they cannot do their operations should be transferred to Newcastle so that they get the best care. I am not the only case where this has happened and should have happened recently far earlier for one child. It is sad to hear that it is STILL happening It is a degree of honesty as to what you can an cannot do and the limits of competency. I am also concerned about the issue of Bristol and what is happening there at the present time and yet the care Quality Commission appear to be doing nothing about it. I moved my care which is highly complex to Newcastle as fed up with delayed reporting of results and every time I have forgiven them and then it happens again. This has been 20 years for me. I hope that the next generation of children and those with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (which is 10-15% of all children with congenital heart disease) get a better care than me or my son who died at that hospital in 2000 who is part of those figures. The consensus document has now been published in relation to that and I hope that all those hospitals that have been nominated will follow it and implement their care appropriately and not just leave them in the cardiology department. Digeorge
  • Score: 0

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