Three hospitals where heart operations have saved the lives of hundreds of children are to stop performing them.
The move comes after an NHS review which concluded that expertise was spread too thinly in 10 specialist units in England and should be concentrated in fewer hospitals.
ITV News' Lewis Vaughan Jones reports on which hospitals are affected - and why.
Giles Peek, consultant in cardiothoracic surgery at Glenfield Hospital, has spoken of his "disappointment" at the decision to stop child heart surgery at the hospital.
Sir Neil McKay, chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, has described the decision to close three of the10 specialist units in England is a "landmark"
"This is a landmark decision that clinicians and patients have long called for which will enable the NHS to improve care for children with congenital heart disease.
"The needs of children, not the vested interests of hospitals, have been at the heart of this review.
– Sir Neil McKay, chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts
"We recognise these are difficult decisions to make, and that some people will be disappointed to lose their nearest surgical centre.
However, we strongly believe our decision is in the best interests of all children and will ensure services are safe and sustainable for the future."
Gareth Owen from ITV Central has tweeted that there have been upsetting scenes at Glenfield hospital as staff and patients were told the Children’s Heart Centre will close.
The seven hospitals where child heart surgery will continue to be performed:
- 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
Bob Bell, chief executive of the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, said:
"It is very difficult to know what to say at times like these.
"But it is even more difficult to try and understand how this committee could have come to such a decision.
– Bob Bell, chief executive of the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
"I will now discuss this decision with the Trust's Board and Governors' Council to determine our next steps. One thing is certain - I will not be asking them for the mandate to manage the destruction of a highly valued and respected children's unit."
A spokeswoman for the Royal Brompton in London has said that as a result of the decision for it to stop performing heart surgery on children it will also lose its children's intensive care unit.
Parent Arshad Hussain has given his reaction to the close of the children's heart surgery unit in Leeds.
You can watch his interview on the ITV Calendar website.