1. ITV Report

Final countdown for Children's Heart surgery unit

Supporters have been campaigning for 18 months. Photo: Calendar

A decision will today be made on the future of the Children's Heart Surgery Unit, which is based in Leeds.

The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) is meeting in London to make their decision on the future of children's congenital heart services across the country. It follows the NHS "Safe and Sustainable" review in April 2010, which concluded that four heart units across the country need to close, claiming that would lead to safer services.

Critics, though, say hundreds of children who require life-saving surgery each year would have to travel long distances to another facility, in either Liverpool or Manchester, which could put their lives at risk.

In October 2011 the Regional Joint Health Scrutiny Committee published a report into the proposals and concluded that any future model of designated paediatric congenital cardiac surgical centres that did not include a centre in Leeds would have a disproportionately negative impact on the children and families across Yorkshire and the Humber.

More than 600,000 people from across the region have signed a petition to keep a designated specialist centre in Leeds, which was handed over in Downing Street last summer. Campaigners say that whatever the outcome they will fight on.

Sharon Cheng - Children's Heart Surgery Fund

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