Leicester's Glenfield Hospital campaigners welcome heart surgery ruling
Campaigners fighting to keep children's heart surgery at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital have welcomed a legal victory by another paediatric cardiac surgery centre earmarked for closure.
A High Court judge ruled yesterday that the consultation process used to decide to remove services from the children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary was unfair and legally flawed.
The unit at Leeds was one of three centres chosen for closure, alongside Glenfield and the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.
The proposed closures followed an NHS review of children's heart surgery in England stating that the number of hospitals providing the service should be cut from 11 to seven.
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If Glenfield were to close, it means surgery and the specialist Ecmo (extra corporeal oxygenation) treatment for children, which was pioneered in Leicester, will move to Birmingham.
Giles Peek, head of the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre, welcomed the latest development.
He said: "This sounds very promising for my colleagues in Leeds, however, we don't yet know what it means for our patients at Glenfield.
"We are also approaching the end of a parallel review by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, who seem to have listened to all of our concerns, including about how the decision was made without considering outcome data for surgery and Ecmo, or how Ecmo will be provided in the future."
Eric Charlesworth, of the health watchdog, the Leicester and Leicestershire local involvement network, welcomed the court decision.
He said: "This ruling is obviously good news for us.
"We have always said the process used to come to the decision to close the unit at Glenfield was flawed.
"We feel this vindicates our position. We are not sure how it affects us, but we will study the ruling and consider our next move."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asked for an independent review into the decision to close the units by the Joint Committee of Primary Care.
The Independent Reconfiguration Panel recommendation will go to Mr Hunt by March 28.
The Health Secretary will then make the final decision on changes to services.