Ahead of a demonstration in Leeds on Monday, Greg Mulholland MP, who is fighting to save Leeds Children's Heart Unit from closure, has written this open letter.
The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) dismissed a 600,000 signature petition to keep our unit open because they “don’t count heads!” It was viewed as ‘one response’ however; the 22,000 messages supporting Birmingham were counted as separate responses.The JCPCT’s decision to close our Children’s Heart Unit is illogical and irrational. Their recommendations need to be thrown out and they need to answer questions as to how they came to their decision.
The impact on so many staff, patients and families, has been ignored and these deserve full and proper consideration before proceeding with the deeply flawed recommendations.The review team have ignored key facts and figures and the whole process appears to have been geared towards securing the future of the Newcastle unit.The JCPCT have ignored facts around travelling times and have also ignored the fact that Newcastle will struggle to reach the required number of units even if Leeds does close.
Yorkshire MPs, who are backing a campaign to save the region's only specialist children's heart unit, have raised the issue with Health Ministers in the Commons this afternoon. Child heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary is set to end after an NHS review concluded that expertise
was spread too thinly around the country and should instead be should be concentrated in fewer hospitals.Closing the unit would mean patients travelling to Newcastle, Liverpool or Birmingham for treatment.
Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew and Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland raised the issue during health questions in the House of Commons.
Jean Johnson's 6-year-old daughter, Nikita, needs a lung and heart transplant. Her condition means that she requires long term care and since the announcement that the Children's Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds is closing, Jean fears travelling to Newcastle will have a negative impact on her health.