Heart unit suggestion is rejected

A PROPOSAL by campaigners fighting to save Yorkshire’s only dedicated children’s heart surgery unit has been rejected by NHS decision-makers.

Friday, 28th September 2012, 4:00 pm

Families across the region have been working hard to have the decision to close the children’s heart surgery unit in Leeds overturned.

The decision, made in July, means children in West Yorkshire could have to travel to Newcastle for surgery.

Last week the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) charity, which has led the campaign, proposed keeping the unit open until 2014 to let parents decide whether they wanted to travel to Leeds or Newcastle for treatment.

But the idea has been rejected by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts which led the review that recommended shutting the Leeds unit.

A committee spokesman said: “We are advised by our lawyers that the CHSF’s alternative proposal is unworkable and would disrupt the process of implementation across England.

“We continue to actively plan for the implementation of the decision across the country pending the outcome of legal challenge and referrals to the Secretary of State for Health.”

The CHSF has previously said it was considering seeking a judicial review over the decision, which came as the result of the Safe And Sustainable review of the country’s 11 specialist heart surgery centres.

It was decided that three of the units, including the one at Leeds General Infirmary, would close.

According to health bosses, having fewer specialist heart units will help to improve the quality of treatment.