Bishop of Leicester quizzes minister over children's cardiac unit at Glenfield Hospital
The Bishop of Leicester has questioned why a vital element of children's heart surgery services has not been included in a national review of a decision to shut the children's cardiac unit at Glenfield Hospital.
The Rt Rev Tim Stevens asked the Health Minister Earl Howe in the House of Lords yesterday to explain why the children's Ecmo (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation) service had been excluded in the review ordered by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Monday.
He has asked the independent panel to review a decision by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts to cut the number of hospitals providing heart surgery for children from 11 to seven.
Glenfield Hospital was one of the hospitals earmarked to stop providing the service and to have children's Ecmo services transferred to Birmingham.
The bishop's question followed a debate in the House of Commons, triggered by an e-petition of more than 100,000 signatures.
The petition was set up by Adam Tansey, from Burbage, whose son Albert was born with half a heart.
Earl Howe replied that the exclusion of the Ecmo unit in the review could not be considered in the same way as the decision had been made by the previous Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, and not by the joint committee.
However, Bishop Tim said he remained "very hopeful the support given to Glenfield Children's Cardiac Unit and the Ecmo unit in particular will lead to it being be included in the review at the earliest opportunity, in the hope the whole unit will remain in Leicester".
The petition can be signed at: