MPs united in battle for Leeds child heart unit

Sharon Hooper with her son Gabriel. She is running the Leeds Half Marathon to raise money for the Childrens Heart Unit at the LGI where her son was treated.

Sharon Hooper with her son Gabriel. She is running the Leeds Half Marathon to raise money for the Childrens Heart Unit at the LGI where her son was treated.

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NEARLY 30 MPs from five different political parties have called on the government to save the Children’s Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds.

In a rare show of cross-party unity, Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat MPs, along with MPs from the DUP and SDLP in Northern Ireland, have joined forces in calling for the under-threat unit to be saved from the axe.

It came as city MP Greg Mulholland repeated his demand for an urgent Commons statement from ministers after claiming that a review into the country’s paediatric heart units is flawed.

The Leeds North West MP said a report of the recent review - which recommends a reduction in the number of units carrying out the specialist surgery - contained “factual errors” that the hospital trust in Leeds “was not allowed to correct”.

Four options have been put out for public consultation and only one includes retaining services at Leeds General Infirmary.

Mr Mulholland said: “This is an unacceptable way to be making critically important decisions on the future of an excellent unit, which serves over five million people across the region, and has 14 million people living within a two hour drive.”

An increasing number of MPs are signing an Early Day Motion tabled in Parliament by Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn.

The motion, which has 28 supporters, highlights how nearly 300 families and their sick children whom the unit currently helps each year would face the “significant distress and cost” of having to travel to other units.

It “calls on the Government to keep the unit open and to invest in its future” and says the LGI’s unit has the capacity to expand.

The EDM has been backed by 11 West Yorkshire MPs as well as politicians from as far a field as Londonderry in Northern Ireland and Gower in West Wales.

A cabinet minister has insisted no decisions will be taken until after the results of the consultation.

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