A joint health "watchdog" representing every local authority in the Yorkshire and Humber region has secured a face-to-face meeting with the man who has proposed the closure of the highly-valued paediatric heart unit in Leeds.
Sir Neil McKay, chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, has agreed to travel to Yorkshire to discuss the proposal with members of the Scrutiny of Health committees of every authority in the region.
Councillor Jim Clark, the Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council's Scrutiny of Health Committee said:
"This is a very hopeful step forward, since it will allow us to put our concerns to Sir Neil in person, and to examine his arguments in great detail."
Councillor Clark, who represents North Yorkshire on the region-wide joint committee, believes the proposed closure of the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary will have a severely adverse impact on child healthcare across the region.
Sir Neil's Committee has proposed the closure of the LGI paediatric cardiology unit. If the proposal is confirmed, patients from Yorkshire would have to to travel to Newcastle, Liverpool, or Birmingham for treatment.
"The LGI unit is a highly valued resource, and its closure would be a serious blow for the whole region," added Councillor Clark.
"We will be making representations to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, to try to prevent the closure going ahead.
"In the meantime, securing a personal appearance by Sir Neil gives us some hope that we will be able to demonstrate how misguided the proposal is, and how deeply damaging its implementation would be for the welfare of the people of Yorkshire and the Humber."