Ruling on heart surgery decision

A decision is expected in the High Court later on the legality of proposed changes to children's heart surgery services.

Hospital campaigners fear 'new fight'

Six months ago they were celebrating victory in the battle to keep children's heart surgery in Southampton - tonight campaigners fear they may be facing a new fight.

A High Court judge has ruled that last year's nationwide review into heart services was "fundamentally flawed". The case was brought by mothers in Leeds where the cardiac unit is due to close.

Southampton had been chosen as one of seven centres of excellence - but will it remain one? Kerry Swain reports and speaks to concerned mother Claire Keating.

Ruling on decision that saved Southampton unit

Campaigners in Leeds have won a High Court challenge over proposed changes to children's heart surgery services in England.

Save Our Surgery (SOS), which is trying to stop the closure of the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary, argued the consultation process leading up to the changes was "unfair and procedurally flawed".

The original decision meant surgery would continue at Southampton Hospital's heart unit.

Today Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, sitting at London's High Court, ruled that the challenge to that decision must succeed - but what the ruling means for the future will be decided at a later date.

This judgment is in itself a victory for the people who fought to keep children's heart surgery services in Yorkshire, and to challenge what they knew to be a flawed and unjust process."

– SOS statement

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Heart surgery challenge due

Heart surgery
Heart surgery decision could have implications for Southampton Credit: ITV Meridian

Campaign group Save Our Surgery (SOS), which represents a large number of residents in the Leeds area, wants a rerun of the consultation on where specialist heart units should be based.

Leeds missed out during the consultation - which went in Southampton's favour.

Southampton heart protest
Campaigners at Southampton protest to keep heart surgery Credit: ITV Meridian

Judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, sitting in London, said she would use "every endeavour" to get the final judgment out today.

The judge is being asked to declare that the consultation process which led to the changes, including proposals to close the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary, was unfair and "procedurally flawed".

Ruling due on heart surgery challenge

A decision is expected in the High Court later on the legality of proposed changes to children's heart surgery services.

The ruling, which should be delivered this morning, could have implications for the future of surgery at Southampton General Hospital.

Last year Southampton's Children's Heart Surgery Unit - one of the country's best - had just a 1 in 4 chance of being selected as one of six specialist cardiac centres.

Operations at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford had already been stopped with families there backing Southampton's campaign.

But there was joy as Southampton was chosen as one of the specialist centres.

However, the original ruling could be overturned if a legal challenge is successful.