Have your say on heart unit

Campaigners will get another chance to have a say on the future of children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which provides advice to the Secretary of State on contested proposals for health change, said research on where people would travel to if Leeds was forced to close should be considered as part of the final decision.

As a result the panel which will make the final decision has asked people to contact them with their comments by 16th April.

Dinnington mum Cassie Symms has been campaigning for the unit after her young son Zander was treated there for heart problems.

The initial review presumed that if the Leeds unit was closed patients would travel to Newcastle. However, a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers revealed people in Yorkshire said they would choose to travel to Liverpool or Birmingham instead.

Director of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, Sharon Cheng, said: “ With patient choice enshrined at the heart of the NHS’ constitution and the fact that many parents have clearly told us that they will not travel to the unit in Newcastle, I believe our case to retain the unit in Leeds is stronger than ever.”

“Even if decision makers completely ignore the NHS constitution and trample all over the concept of patient choice, Newcastle will still struggle to get the number of patients it needs.”

If you want to support the fight email [email protected]

Alternatively, write to Christy Rowley, Safe and Sustainable, National Specialised Commissioning Team, 2nd Floor, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT and give a personal insight into how the closure of Leeds would affect you from a travel point of view.