Huddersfield Daily Examiner - Fighting Fund launched to save Yorkshire's Children's Heart Unit

A FIGHTING fund to save a children’s heart surgical unit from closure has been formed.

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund is fighting to retain the unit in Yorkshire and is urging businesses to back the campaign to launch a legal challenge against the closure decision.

Health bosses last month decided to end paediatric heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, meaning patients will have to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for treatment.

Many Huddersfield families have joined the fight to save the unit.

The fund is hoping local businesses can make donations towards the legal costs.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund director, Sharon Cheng, said: “This decision is not something we are prepared to accept and will continue to fight the decision on behalf of our parents, patients and staff.

“We are currently appealing to ministers to overturn this decision but if this is rejected we have no option than to seek a judicial review. As potentially the last option open to parents we feel we have to try.”

One of the charity’s main activities is to support children with congenital heart conditions and their families at the children’s heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and surplus from donations will be put towards the unit’s charitable work.

For more details on the fund contact Ellie Smith on 0845 4567 251 or ellies@acceleris-mc.com

Meanwhile a charity has welcomed controversial plans to stop children’s heart surgery in Leeds.

The Children’s Heart Federation has backed the decision by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts.

Chief executive Anne Keatley-Clarke said: “We welcome the decision which we have been waiting for many years. The delays to planned improvements in children’s heart services caused a great deal of uncertainty for parents and professionals, so we are pleased for them that this has come to an end.”

The changes will mean heart units will have four surgeons who carry out 400 to 500 operations a year.

Ms Keatley-Clarke said: “The implementation of these standards will ensure that surgeons operating on our children will be based in well resourced centres of excellence and are able to provide round-the-clock cover, making sure all children receive necessary surgical treatment in a timely manner.”

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