Rotherham fights for Leeds heart unit

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Rotherham Council has said it will continue the fight to save the children’s heart unit in Leeds - now that surgery has resumed.

Councillors Shaukat Ali and Ken Wyatt welcomed the resumption of surgery at the children’s congenital cardiac surgical centre at the Leeds General Infirmary after it was suspended over, Easter and are determined to see it remain open.

The unit has treated many local children, including Cassie Symms son Zander Jak. Cassie, who lives in Dinnignton, has been campaigning to keep surgery at the Leeds every since her son’s life-saving surgery.

Coun Ali, who is Rotherham’s representative on the Yorkshire and Humber Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said that now surgery has re-started, the fight goes on to save the unit itself.

He said: “The judicial review revealed the consultation process was lacking and I know the closure decision did not reflect the strength of feeling of people both locally and across the whole Yorkshire and Humber region who do not want the Leeds unit to close. “

“The impact on the closure on families should not be underestimated. The widespread view is that it would be difficult for those families to maintain the same level of support if the service was relocated as well as having a huge impact on travel times for those patients and parents who have to use public transport.”

The Judicial Review last month revealed the flaws in the plans of NHS bosses to axe the unit as part of a review of surgical provision across the country.

This flew in the face of the regional Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which concluded that in order to meet the needs and growing demands of the 5.5 million people living in the Yorkshire and Humber region, the unit must be retained.