National review led to controversial decision

Anne-Marie Sheard fears the children's heart unit in Leeds where her four-year-old son Isaac is treated may close.
Anne-Marie Sheard fears the children's heart unit in Leeds where her four-year-old son Isaac is treated may close.
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A fight to retain children’s heart services at Leeds General Infirmary has gone to the High Court in London this week.

Campaigners from Save Our Surgery went to court for a judicial review of the decision last July by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) to end surgery in Leeds, leaving families having to travel to Newcastle instead.

Philip Havers QC, representing Save Our Surgery told the court overall scores given to heart surgery units were given to decision-makers, but not the detail of how they did on individual criteria.

A decision on the judicial review is expected in a few weeks, and a review into the decision ordered by health secretary Jeremy Hunt MP is also due to report back in March.

Ackworth mum Anne-Marie Sheard, 41, whose son Isaac, five, is due to have surgery to repair a hole in his heart next week at Leeds, said parents would not stop fighting fo rthe service.

She said: “It’s bad enough trying to organise family life and other siblings when the hospital is 15 miles away, let along 150.

“They encourage siblings to be part of the recovery, and that’s more difficult if the surgery takes place so far away.

“In the future that’s a concern, because Isaac probably will need more surgeries, and we want to continue his care in Leeds.

“It’s just unthinkable, we need to be as close as we can.”

Save Our Surgery is selling pin badges to support its fundraising to fight the closure. Shops and businesses which want to sell the badges can contact Mat Cassell on info@saveoursurgery.net or call 0113 392 5907.