Leicestershire and Rutland councillors in Glenfield Hospital heart unit plea
The campaign to save children's heart surgery at Glenfield Hospital has been given a boost.
Councillors from across Leicestershire and Rutland are writing to new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asking him to look again at plans to stop surgery at the hospital for children born with heart defects.
The decision was made after members of the Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland health overview and scrutiny committee heard clinical evidence from doctors at Glenfield yesterday.
They also heard from Sir Robert Burgess, vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester, who said the loss of children's heart surgery and the specialist Ecmo – extra corporeal membrane oxygenation – treatment could impact on the city's international reputation for cardiovascular research.
The councillors' action followed a decision in July to cut the number of English hospitals providing surgery for children born with heart defects from 11 to seven.
Glenfield Hospital is one of four which will lose its children's heart surgery services. Instead, children will have to go to Birmingham.
Jim Birrell, interim chief executive at Leicester's hospitals, told councillors: "I think we have put together a pretty convincing medical case for this decision to be referred to the Secretary of State for Health.
"The country needs the Leicester unit." Mr Birrell also revealed that Neil McKay, chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts), which made the decision on future children's heart services, had written to the Department of Health stating evidence produced by Leicester's hospitals needed to be considered. Dr Aidan Bolger, a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's hospitals, told councillors: "Demand far exceeds the capacity of Birmingham Children's Hospital and the risks of moving Ecmo have been underestimated."
He said transferring services to Birmingham would lead to a cut in the number of children's intensive care beds available in the East Midlands.
Councillors agreed they had enough evidence to ask the Health Secretary to have the matter reviewed.