New hope for Wakefield parents fighting to keep Leeds heart unit open

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to keep a specialist heart unit open have been given fresh hope.

The unit at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) has been earmarked for closure by the NHS after a review of children’s heart services.

And it will mean poorly children from Wakefield having to travel to Liverpool or Newcastle for treatment.

But yesterday (Tuesday) the joint health overview and scrutiny committee for Yorkshire and the Humber decided to refer the NHS’s decision to the government, which will now make the final decision.

Committee chairman Coun John Illingworth said: “The meeting has resulted in unanimous agreement to refer the decision made by the Joint Committee for Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) to close the children’s heart surgery unit in Leeds to the Secretary of State for Health.

“The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Yorkshire and the Humber will immediately start to collate information to support our submission, and we will meet again in the very near future to endorse the completed documents.”

On Monday hundreds of poorly children, parents, nurses and MPs marched through the streets of Leeds to protest against its closure.

Demonstrators wore Children’s Heart Surgery Fund T-shirts and held banners and signs reading “SOS Save Our Surgery” and “Don’t Break My Heart”.

The decision over the heart unit’s future will now be made by Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley.