Heartfelt support for unit from Leeds MP

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves during her visit to the children's heart surgery unit.
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves during her visit to the children's heart surgery unit.
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A Leeds MP visited city’s under-threat children’s heart surgery unit to show her support for the campaign to keep it open.

Rachel Reeves met staff and campaigners at the Leeds General Infirmary ward.

The pregnant Leeds West MP also met patients, including tiny 25-day old Benjamin Doyle, from Huddersfield.

Rachel, who has previously lobbied the Government about the proposed closure of the unit, said: “I feel strongly about the Save Our Surgery campaign and will do everything I can to offer my continued support.

“The unit here offers unrivalled co-located care in the North which means all the services a child may need are on one single site.

“It would be a real blow to Yorkshire parents to lose the ward.

“The children’s heart ward is an inspiring place full of hope and strength and I was pleased to come and meet patients, families and the team.”

NHS bosses decided in July that the unit should stop carrying out children’s heart surgery as part of a national shake-up.

That sparked outrage among families and campaigners, and more recently doctors who say it would put the lives of sick children at risk if they had to travel to a unit in Newcastle.

In October Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review of the decision after concerns were raised by councillors.

Earlier this week members of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel visited LGI to find out about the care offered at the unit.

Their recommendations are expected in March.

Meanwhile Leeds campaign group Save Our Surgery is also preparing for a judicial review challenging the decision, which is due to be heard in February.

Sharon Cheng, of Save Our Surgery, said: “Taking the legal route to achieve this has always been our least preferred course of action because of the associated costs to both sides. However, with all other options exhausted, and the Department of Health asking that we continue our legal action, it’s now critical that we continue to raise the funds required to complete the proceedings.”


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