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Latest on the fight to save children's heart surgery in Yorkshire

Heart - Leeds General Infirmary closure

10:58am 25th July 2012

The fight will go on to save Yorkshire's only children's heart surgery ward.

At a meeting the regions politicians referred the decision to Health Minister Andrew Lansley.

It followed a meeting with the man who chaired the committee that made the decision.

Sir Neil McKay CB, Chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, said:

“The decision we took on 4 July followed a three year comprehensive review which included engaging with families and clinicians, listening to people’s views and testing possible configurations. Before making a decision the committee also considered several options which included Leeds as a surgical centre which were submitted to us during consultation.

 We listened to the views of the professional associations, parents and many others and decided that quality of care should be the primary factor in making our decision. We considered other factors such as travel and access carefully, deciding to set up more services closer to home  to meet children's ongoing care needs.

The Safe and Sustainable review, the largest public consultation in the history of the NHS, has already been subject to significant scrutiny. Notwithstanding the fact that three Appeal Court judges found our process to be lawful and proper, we will prepare for this latest challenge with rigour. Should the IRP be asked to undertake an initial assessment, I look forward to working with them to provide all the information they need and to explain the different factors we considered before reaching our decision.

We will give the IRP our full cooperation and I am anxious to expedite this further challenge because further delays to vital changes are not in the best interests of children. The case for change has never been stronger and the NHS remains committed to implementing service improvements for children with heart disease in England.”

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