NHS to appeal over heart unit closures

The NHS is to appeal against a High Court ruling over controversial plans to streamline children's heart surgery services across the country.

The move, which is the latest in a long and bitter row over the issue, was condemned as a "disgraceful waste of time and taxpayers' money" by campaign group Save Our Surgery.

It follows a successful challenge against the suggested closure of the unit at Leeds General Infirmary at London's High Court last month, when Mrs Justice Nicola Davies declared the decision-making process "legally flawed".

There is broad consensus - among both clinicians and patient groups - that the NHS needs to concentrate the care of children needing these services into fewer, larger specialist centres, as an integral part of children's heart networks.

NHS England believes that we must deliver this change as quickly as possible on behalf of children and their families.

We now have an opportunity to take stock and assess the best way of achieving our objective in the fastest possible time.

To do this, we need to take account of all the available information, including the recent High Court ruling of 27 March and the report on the issues that is due to be published by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

– NHS spokesperson