Families welcome review of Leeds hospital heart unit closure
EAST Yorkshire families have welcomed a review of the decision to close the children's heart surgery unit in Leeds.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered the review into the move to close three children's heart surgery units at Leeds General Infirmary, Glenfield Hospital, in Leicester, and the Royal Brompton, in Chelsea, west London.
As previously reported in the Mail, a number of families across East Yorkshire use the unit in Leeds.
Mr Hunt has asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) to carry out the review.
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The panel will decide by February whether it believes the recommendations to close the units will streamline paediatric heart services.
Becki Quick's son Harvey, 4, had surgery to correct a hole in his heart and reroute veins that were in the wrong place last year.
She has campaigned to keep the Leeds unit open and is delighted by the move.
Becki, of Hessle, said: "I welcome the review and I am thrilled to bits.
"I have always stood by the Leeds unit and firmly believe it should remain open.
"It is very important to the people of East Yorkshire.
"It has been a long battle to get to this point."
Becki hopes Harvey is okay now but accepts other families will struggle if they have to travel to Newcastle for treatment.
She said: "Harvey is absolutely smashing but there are no guarantees and there may come a time when he needs further treatment.
"It would be a nightmare if we had to travel to Newcastle, particularly if it was a 9am appointment.
"God forbid if there was an emergency.
"I hope it will not affect us now but there are plenty of other families in East Yorkshire who will suffer if the unit in Leeds closes."
Earlier this month, Save Our Surgery (SOS) said it has filed for permission for a judicial review against the decision made by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) to close the unit.
Battles have been fought across the country to keep all the three units open.
The JCPCT has promised to cooperate with the review.
Chairman Sir Neil McKay said: "We will work closely with the Independent Reconfiguration Panel over the coming months to assist the panel's review of the JCPCT's decision in whatever way possible.
"The decision on the future of children's heart services, which was welcomed by Royal Colleges of medicine, doctors, nurses and national charities, was made after carefully considering a number of factors, which included evidence on patient travel times, transferring ECMO services and demand on surgical services.
"The IRP has noted the JCPCT's concern that the process of challenging the decision risks further uncertainty for children's heart services in England."