Wakefield children hold protests in Leeds over heart unit closure

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HUNDREDS of poorly children took to the streets today (Monday) to protest against the closure of the specialist heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

Youngsters and parents from across the county joined nurses and MPs on the march through Leeds.

The unit has been earmarked for closure by the NHS after a review of children’s heart services.

And the decision means that poorly children from Wakefield will have to travel to either Liverpool or Newcastle for treatment.

Among the protestors in Millennium Square were Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls, five-year-old Toby Lancaster, of Stanley, and Ebony Fisher, 11, of Normanton.

Both Ebony and Toby received life saving treatment at LGI.

Ebony underwent two major operations after suffering from congenital heart disease since birth, and Toby had surgery when he was just 12-weeks old.

Toby’s mum Joanne said: “I do not think my son would have made it to Newcastle or Liverpool when we needed the care.”

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” as they gathered before marching through Leeds city centre.

Tomorrow a scrutiny committee could decide to refer the decision to the government, giving fresh hope for campaigners.