Plea to save heart unit

23rd Febuary 2011.' Former Champion Child Ebony Fisher has congenital heart disease which means she regularly has to go to the LGI for treatment. Because of the government, the unit may be closed. Therefore Ebony and her mum Sue would have to travel miles away to Newscastle or London. They are very upset by this and want to government to rethink' 'Picture: MATTHEW PAGE
23rd Febuary 2011.' Former Champion Child Ebony Fisher has congenital heart disease which means she regularly has to go to the LGI for treatment. Because of the government, the unit may be closed. Therefore Ebony and her mum Sue would have to travel miles away to Newscastle or London. They are very upset by this and want to government to rethink' 'Picture: MATTHEW PAGE
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A MUM whose little girl suffers from congenital heart disease fears she may be forced to travel hundreds of miles for treatment because of NHS cuts.

Susan Bastow’s nine-year-old daughter Ebony Fisher goes for check-ups to the children’s heart Surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary every six months.

But the unit is at risk of closure due to the NHS Safe and Sustainable review.

Miss Barstow, 28, of Heseltine Close, Normanton, said: “She knows the staff well, she’s grown up with them and seeing the same people puts her at ease.

“But if it closes we will have to go to Liverpool, Newcastle or even London. It would be completely devastating for us and hundreds of other families.”

Ebony, who was an Express Champion Child in 2005, has suffered from congenital heart disease from birth and has already undergone two major operations.

Doctors say she will need more surgery as she gets older.

Normanton MP Yvette Cooper has urged the government to rethink before a final decision is made later this year.

Dr Peter Belfield, medical director for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It is very disappointing that our service here in Leeds features in only one of the four options which will be going forward for public consultation as part of the Safe and Sustainable review.

“We firmly believe that the children’s heart surgery unit at Leeds does an excellent job and deserves to stay open and be expanded.”

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition to save the unit.

Visit www.chsf.org.uk or search for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund on Facebook.