Campaigners have launched a legal bid to save the children’s heart surgery unit in Leeds.
The Yorkshire Evening Post told last month how a court challenge to the NHS’s decision to close the unit was under consideration.
Now Leeds’s Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign group has confirmed it has applied to the High Court seeking permission for a judicial review of the decision.
A judicial review is a court proceeding where a judge considers the lawfulness of a ruling made by a public body.
It is hoped the High Court will decide within the next few months whether the review should go ahead.
Implementation of the closure plan is expected to be put on hold pending the outcome of the application.
Sharon Cheng, from the SOS group, said Leeds had been left with “no alternative” but to take legal action.
The NHS’s Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts sparked outrage in July when it earmarked the children’s heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary for closure.
Its decision followed a review of the Leeds unit and nine other centres in England that carry out paediatric cardiac ops.
Opponents of the proposed closure say the unit’s demise would mean patients from Yorkshire having to travel to Newcastle, Birmingham or Liverpool for treatment.
The NHS joint committee has said it will defend any legal challenge “with confidence”.
A plea from Leeds for a year-long pause in the implementation of the closure plan so it could be reconsidered without the need for court action was rejected by health service bosses.
* A fighting fund has been established to help with the cost of the legal case. Cheques can be sent to Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, Room 001, Old Nurses Home, Leeds General Infirmary, LS1 3EX.