specialised neurosurgery for children with epilepsy could be stopped in Leeds.
Paediatric surgery for youngsters with the condition looks set to end at Leeds General Infirmary as part of a national overhaul of services.
The YEP understands a consultation by Safe and Sustainable - who headed the controversial review into children’s heart surgery - has recommended paediatric neurosurgery should be carried out at four dedicated centres. Doctors in Leeds say children will be forced to travel to London, Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool for the surgery.
Experts say Leeds was one of the biggest providers of the neurosurgery for children with epliepsy outside London. Dr Colin Ferrie, consultant paediatric neurologist told Leeds City Council’s health, well-being and adult social care scrutiny board: “From our personal experience we know that getting some families from Bradford to come to Leeds is hard enough. There is a significant danger that existing service in Leeds will become a secondary type service. It could have a possible knock-on effect for adults as well.”
The YEP understands Leeds failed in its bid to be one of the dedicated centres for paediatric neurosurgery after forming a consortium with Newcastle and Sheffield - but they failed to decide who would be lead.
Dr Bryan Gill, medical director for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re working very hard on the whole issue of neurological services. We recognise epilepsy was relatively small but this has significant overtones of everything to do with children’s heart surgery.”
Coun Sandy Lay said: “Is there a theme developing whereby under this Safe and Sustainable Review Leeds keeps getting marginalised? I don’t understand why we keep missing out.”
An NHS England spokesman said all cases of children’s epilepsy surgery are discussed by a multidisciplinary team. He said: “The agreed national service model is epilepsy surgery for children aged five and under is performed in one of the four specialist centres. For children aged six or over, the agreed clinical management plan may include a decision that the surgery is undertaken locally. There could be surgery undertaken in Leeds where the child is aged six and over.” He said no changes to adult surgery will be made.