SOS campaign heads to London
11:29am 21st June 2011
Campaigners fighting NHS plans to close Yorkshire’s only children’s heart surgery unit are today (21st June 2011) travelling from Leeds to Downing Street to deliver a half-a-million name petition which they hope will compel the Government into a re-think.
Supported by Yorkshire MP Stuart Andrew, representatives from the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) and Yorkshire heart surgeons, young heart surgery patients and their parents will arrive at Downing Street in an ambulance before handing over the petition at Number 10.
The petition, believed to be the biggest-ever regional petition, contains the names of over 500,000 people from across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and North Derbyshire who have pledged their support to keep the children’s heart surgery unit – based at Leeds General Infirmary – open, despite the current NHS review of children’s heart surgery that threatens the future of the Yorkshire unit.
Sharon Cheng, Director of CHSF, said:
“There are almost 15 million people within a two hour drive of the Yorkshire unit, and if the Government decided to close it, families would be forced to take their children hundreds of miles for surgery.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support from the people of Yorkshire and hope that this petition has got the message across to the Government that the Leeds unit simply cannot be allowed to close.”
A four-month public consultation period ends on 1st July and, after months of public meetings, street protests, appeals and an online campaign, campaigners are still urging those who have not yet added their name to the petition to do so, as they believe the fight is not yet over.
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