Heart Unit campaigners: "doesn't necessarily mean the heart surgery is saved"
Save Our Surgery spokeswoman Sharon Cheng said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London today's ruling did not necessarily mean the Leeds heart unit was saved, and much would depend on what orders the judge decided to make when the matter returns to court later this month.
One possibility is that the judge will order fresh consultations, which could throw plans for the reorganisation of children's heart surgery around the country into delay and disarray.
We have won this case on every point.
It doesn't necessarily mean the heart surgery is saved, but fresh reconsideration will have to be given as to what is to happen next and the fight will go on.
We knew it was time to fight because of the strength of feeling of families.
The campaign started small, like David and Goliath, then grew and grew out of all proportions.
Campaigners form Save Our Surgery (SOS) have won a High Court challenge to the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust (JCPCT)’s decision to remove children’s heart surgery services from Leeds.The ruling, found that the JCPCT’s process and decision were unlawful.
This judgment finally confirms what we have always believed: that the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts’ review process and decision to remove children’s heart surgery services from Leeds was unlawful. Winning this case in the High Court proves once and for all that the supposed consultation was a rubber stamping exercise conducted with an outcome in mind, with clinicians, MPs and patients fooled into feeling they had influence. This action was taken by parents and clinicians who simply could not stand by and watch a clear injustice being done.
– Sharon Cheng, Save our Surgery
This ruling supports our firm belief that patients’ needs should be at the forefront in determining where heart surgery services are located. It also supports our assertion that children’s heart surgery service provision must reflect today’s realities, not those of tenyears ago.
– Sharon Cheng, Save our Surgery
Campaigners will now wait to to find out what this decision means for the overall Safe and Sustainable Review and its implementation, along with the outcome of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel review requested by the Secretary of State for Health, which will be completed at the end of March.
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."
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.
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".