The future of Leeds children’s heart surgery services was discussed in a Parliamentary debate, tabled by Stuart Andrew MP for Pudsey, on Thursday 3rd March.
The MP was joined by colleagues from neighbouring constituencies which will be adversely affected if children’s heart surgery services are cut from the Leeds General Infirmary. There are 11 children’s heart surgery units in the UK but the NHS is proposing under the ‘Safe and Sustainable’ Review to reduce this to 6 or 7 specialist hubs undertaking 400 operations per year.
Stuart Andrew said ‘The current Safe and Sustainable Review has placed the fantastic work carried out by children’s heart surgeons at the LGI at risk and there have been several inaccuracies in the recently published assessment report on the unit. The Leeds Unit is accessible for almost 14 million people within two hours travelling time and covers Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and Northern Lincolnshire. It makes no sense to close this unit and instead force children and families to travel long distances to access heart surgery units. For some sick children, accessing surgical services quickly can be the difference between life and death and it is terrifying to think that lives could be lost due to this change.
He added ‘The campaign to save the unit at LGI has cross party support and Thursday’s debate gave local MPs the opportunity to question Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health, on the inaccuracies contained in the report and I hope it is clear to everyone that we intend to fight to protect our children’s heart surgery unit.’
MPs were able to meet with doctors and members of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund on Tuesday and heard accounts from concerned parents whose children had received emergency heart surgery at the LGI.
There will be a public consultation meeting with the Safe and Sustainable Review team at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, on 10th May from 6-8pm. Please show your support by signing the on-line petition at: www.chsf.org.uk/save-our-heart-surgery-unit.