MPs challenge heart unit ruling
MPs have taken the fight to keep children's heart surgery at Glenfield Hospital to Westminster.
They questioned what expert advice was available to and considered by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley when he agreed last week that pioneering extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (Ecmo) treatment for children should move to Birmingham.
A delegation led by Labour's Leicester West MP Liz Kendall outlined their concerns to health minister Simon Burns.
The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts agreed on July 4 to cut the number of English hospitals providing heart surgery for children born with heart defects from 11 to seven.
Glenfield Hospital was one of the hospitals to lose out.
Children needing surgery or Ecmo treatment will have to go to Birmingham.
Ms Kendall said: "We outlined evidence from national and international Ecmo experts about the high survival rates of children at Glenfield.
"What is not clear is what advice Mr Lansley had in signing off the decision to move Ecmo and we want to make sure all the evidence was properly assessed.
"I think there are grounds for an independent review of the decision and we will be working for this."
In a debate in the Commons which followed the meeting, Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth, said the decision to stop services was "shocking news to staff and families".
He said: "Ecmo is used to stabilise children and stop them dying before surgery. Our service has been underestimated."
Mr Ashworth said patients in Lincolnshire and east of England would also be badly affected by the changes as they faced long journeys to London.
Nicky Morgan, Conservative MP for Loughborough, questioned what assurance there was that the children's Ecmo service could safely be moved to Birmingham.
MPs in Yorkshire and Humberside, where a Leeds hospital is also to lose children's heart surgery, have also questioned the decision of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts.
Sir Neil McKay, chairman of the committee, said the decision was "in the best interests of all children and will ensure services are safe and sustainable for the future".
Members of the health watchdog Leicester City local involvement network were due to meet today to consider what action they could take.
Dr Sanjiv Nichani, a children's intensive care consultant at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, was to outline the need to fight for the service.
Members of the public can attend the meeting which begins at 2.15pm at the Peepul Centre in Orchardson Avenue, Leicester.
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