‘Sway heart unit verdict’

CAMPAIGNERS will get another chance to influence the final decision on the future of the heart unit in Leeds.

The announcement comes after the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, an independent group which provides advice to the Secretary of State on contested proposals for health change in England, concluded that vital research on where local people would travel to, if the facilities in Leeds were forced to close, should be considered as part of the final decision.

People are being encouraged to contact the Joint Chairs of Primary Care Trusts, the panel which will make the final decision, with any comments about the report by April 16 and they will be considered as part of the decision-making process.

Assumptions were initially made by the NHS’ Safe and Sustainable review that if the Leeds unit was forced to close that patients would travel to Newcastle as an alternative site (this is called patient flow). However, in a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, people across the region clearly stated they would actually choose to travel to the Liverpool or Birmingham units instead.

If you want to support the fight email Christy.Rowley@nsct.nhs.uk or write to Christy Rowley, Safe and Sustainable, National Specialised Commissioning Team, 2nd Floor, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT.

People are asked to give a personal insight into how the closure of Leeds would affect them from a travel point of view.

They can also forward their letter to the Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker.