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Campaigners 'vindicated' by child heart unit decision

Members of the Save Our Surgery campaign group have welcomed the decision not to close a childrens' heart unit in Leeds.

Spokeswoman Sharon Cheng said that the Health Secretary's comments earlier today "completely vindicated" the stand taken by the group:

We are pleased and relieved that the Health Secretary has decided that a new review is necessary before NHS England can decide where children’s heart surgery services should reside in England and Wales.

His comments about the Safe & Sustainable process and outcome completely vindicate the action that we took to challenge this, and demonstrate that exposing the flaws in the review was the right and necessary thing to do ...

The trauma experienced by patients and families across our Region throughout the Safe & Sustainable process, as acknowledged by the Health Secretary, must never be repeated.

– Sharon Cheng, Save Our Surgery

Minister: 'I'm not sure that this is a matter of celebration'

Health Minister Anna Soubry MP is not sure that the suspension of the review into Glenfield Hospital's children's heart unit is "a matter of celebration". She said that this came about because "people raised concerns of varying levels" about the "flawed" process.

She did not promise that Glenfield would retain it's children's heart surgery. But she said she hoped that whatever decision was made it was done in "the best possible way", with the "best evidence" and with "transparency".

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Heart hospitals buy time as Hunt suspends review

Campaigners demanding that their local children's heart surgery hospitals in England remain open won a partial victory today as the Health Secretary suspended a controversial review.

Jeremy Hunt admitted the initial decision to close units in Leeds, London and Leicester was based on faulty data.

But he said the review would be revisited and that some services would still have to shut.

ITV News reporter Martha Fairlie explains more:

National

Hunt: Clinical case for change remains

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was clear the clinical case for changes to how children's heart surgery units are run remains, despite today's suspension of plans to close three units.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Mr Hunt said the independent review he instigated, following complaints from units where closure was recommended, still stressed the "case for change."

Read: Plans to close children's heart surgery units suspended

National

NHS England welcomes children's heart unit decision

NHS England welcomed Jeremy Hunt's decision to suspend planned closures of three children's heart surgery units and promised to lead plans to rethink how care can be improved.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director for NHS England said:

We welcome the review and NHS England will now study its recommendations in full to learn from them. We will institute a new process that recognises the very strong case for redesigning services to meet the demands of the future whilst addressing the legitimate concerns in our local communities.

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National

Plans to close children's heart surgery units suspended

Plans to close three children's heart surgery units were suspended by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today.

Addressing the House of Commons he said the review was based on "flawed analysis", saying:

The outcome of safe and sustainable review was based on a flawed analysis..and leaves too many questions about sustainability and implementation. This is serious criticism.

I therefore accept their recommendation that the proposals cannot go ahead in their current form, and am suspending the review today.

Another review of heart surgery units expected

ITV News Central, Political Correspondent, Alison MacKenzie understand that the Health Secretary is expected to call for a further review of children's heart surgery units this afternoon.

Last July, the decision was taken to close three of the 10 specialist child heart surgery units in England in a move to streamline paediatric heart services.

Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, Leeds General Infirmary and the Royal Brompton in Chelsea, West London were earmarked for closure.

Campaigners in Leicester had hoped the decision to close the only children's heart surgery unit in the East Midlands would be overturned today but it is likely that Jeremy Hunt will call for further consultation before a final decision is made.

Future of heart unit at Glenfield Hospital

Campaigners say they're expecting a decision on the future of the only children's heart surgery unit in the East Midlands.

The unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester has been earmarked for closure - meaning patients would have to travel to Birmingham. A final decision is expected from the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt soon.

Decision expected on future of heart until at Glenfield Hospital Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
National

Child heart surgery unit decisions made last July

Last July, the decision was taken to close three of the 10 specialist child heart surgery units in England in a move to streamline paediatric heart services.

Leeds General Infirmary, Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, and the Royal Brompton in Chelsea, west London were earmarked for closure

The seven hospitals where it was decided surgery on children would continue were:

  • Great Ormond Street in London
  • Evelina Children's Hospital in London
  • Freeman Hospital in Newcastle
  • Birmingham's Children's Hospital
  • Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool
  • Royal Hospital for Children in Bristol
  • Southampton General Hospital
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