Lifeline for heart surgery

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PATIENTS, families and supporters campaigning to keep the heart unit at Leeds open are being urged not to give up.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) is promoting an alternative option to the four currently being considered by the NHS which could see life saving services retained in Leeds.

Dubbed ‘option E’ the alternative option would provide numerous benefits on a national scale such as reduced journey time, provision of high quality care and delivery of multiple services under one roof.

The review, being carried out by the NHS’ Safe and Sustainable, could see facilities in Leeds closed down and moved to Newcastle or even one unit in Liverpool remaining open to deliver services to the entire North of England. The facility currently provides services to a population of 14 million within a two hour drive of Leeds including Rastrick mum Mary Dennison, whose son Jack’s life was saved by the unit.

Back in August it was revealed that less than 10 per cent of the 75,000 people who responded to a national consultation over the controversial NHS shake-up voted for the option that would keep the unit at Leeds General Infirmary open.

The most popular of the four proposed options would mean parents of poorly Calderdale children having to travel to Newcastle for life-saving treatment.

Under the current review Leeds on features in one of the four options being considered by the Joint Chairs of the Primary Care Trusts.

CHSF is encouraging members of the public who want to help keep life saving services available to the people of Yorkshire to write to their local MPs and ask for their letters to be sent on to the Secretary of State to ensure their views are heard ahead of the decision which is expected on November 17.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund director, Sharon Cheng, said: “It is not too late for members of the public to have their say on a matter which affects so many children in and around Yorkshire. The unit in Leeds provides an exemplary service and has proven vital in saving the lives of countless children. The loss of the unit in Leeds would cause a big hole in the heart of Yorkshire children’s heart surgery and we need all the support we can get to save our surgery.”

For more information on the fight to save the vital services in Yorkshire visit www.chsf.org.uk