A decision over the future of the Leeds children’s heart surgery service has been delayed further.
As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the verdict on the under-threat unit has been put back already because of a legal challenge by a London hospital.
Last year the Royal Brompton Hospitals Trust won a judicial review over the way the consultation about the future of children’s heart surgery had been done.
The NHS decision-making body has lodged an appeal, which will now not be heard until March.
Organisers of the Leeds campaign urged supporters to keep up the pressure.
Sharon Cheng, from the Save Our Surgery campaign, said: “There is a lot going on behind the scenes to fight the closure of the unit which provides lifesaving facilities to families from across the region and we will continue to do everything we can.
“This delay is another setback to families who are desperate to find out whether they will be forced to travel potentially hundreds of miles for treatment but we urge parents to be patient and continue to support us in our fight to save our surgery.
“For the Yorkshire unit, there is everything still to fight for.”
A massive campaign has sprung up to retain the LGI unit, which is at serious threat of having to stop carrying out surgery as the number of hospitals offering the service is set to be cut.
Last year’s decision meant the consultation over the Safe and Sustainable review was ruled to be “flawed and inaccurate” and was stopped.
However the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, which carried it out, has been given leave to appeal.
Originally this was due to be heard this month but the Royal Brompton Hospitals trust has now cross-appealed and the case is expected to be heard in mid March.
Jeremy Glyde, Safe and Sustainable programme director, said: “We recognise that further delay is undesirable particularly for families and NHS staff.
“Assuming a successful outcome at appeal, the Joint Committee of PCTs remains committed to making a decision on the future of children’s congenital heart services in the spring.”