HALF a million people have now signed a petition demanding that Leeds keeps its children’s heart surgery unit.
The campaign to save the service at Leeds General Infirmary is now well on the way to becoming the biggest the country has ever seen.
Next week families and young patients will present the petition to Downing Street and urge the Government to take action.
A consultation is under way over the future of children’s heart surgery across the country as NHS heads say having fewer units would be safer. Leeds is only included in one out of four possible options for a new set-up for the services.
Sharon Cheng, director of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which is running the campaign, said: “We are overwhelmed by the support this county and beyond have shown us. Even a few people from the Newcastle area have signed our petition, knowing the logical argument is to keep our children’s heart surgery here in Yorkshire.
“The people of Yorkshire have spoken clearly: we need this service to remain in one of the most densely populated areas in the country.”
MPs from the region will next week debate the issue in Parliament and are expected to vote on a motion calling for the Government to pause the process.
Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew, who secured the debate, said: “Other hospitals around the country have concerns over the review and this debate will give MPs from all affected constituencies the opportunity to voice their constituents’ concerns.”
Leeds MP Greg Mulholland added: “I firmly believe, as I said to the Prime Minister, that there should be a pause for the review to be properly considered.”
* To respond to the consultation, log on to: www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk or for details on the campaign, visit: www.chsf.org.uk