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NHS Bosses Vow to Continue With Yorkshire Children's Heart Unit Shake Up

Heart - Leeds General Infirmary closure

7:48am 28th March 2013

A High Court judge has overturned the decision to close the children's heart surgery unit in Yorkshire.

It's after the consultation was considered 'unfair and legally flawed.'

An independent configuration panel will now step in and look at the evidence to make a decision.

Steph Ward's son has used the unit at Leeds General Infirmary - and she's been involved in the campaign:


But NHS bosses say they'll continue in their fight to change children's heart units in the UK.

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

“Following today’s ruling, we are strongly considering our grounds for appeal. The NHS remains as determined as ever to reconfigure children’s heart services. The NHS will of course study the ruling carefully and its implications. The Judge was very clear that she was not advocating a return to the start of the review process. I am pleased that the Judge has upheld our decisions in relation to the quality standards and the model of care.

We will give due consideration to the judgment and will advise people of the next steps in the process at the beginning of April. We will aim to reach a final decision in June 2013, pending the outcome of the separate IRP process..

The Court and all the hospitals involved recognise the need for the NHS to continue in our important mission to improve services for children with congenital heart disease and the NHS remains absolutely committed to ensuring that services are safe and sustainable in the future. The case for the reconfiguration of children’s heart services remains strong and there continues to be a rare consensus amongst medical royal colleges, professional associations, NHS staff and national parent groups that the NHS needs fewer larger surgical centres and new national quality standards to improve outcomes for children. Safe and Sustainable will continue.

The expert view remains that the longer vested interests delay this process, the greater the risk of safety concerns manifesting in the units. I never forget that the purpose of our work is saving lives and improving quality of life for children, and on behalf of the NHS I want to reassure families, patients and clinicians that we remain as determined as ever to reconfigure services for children with congenital heart disease in the interests of better outcomes and a more safe and sustainable service for children and their families. The decision we took in July last year will help save children’s lives, reduce co-morbidities and ensure ongoing care is provided closer to many families’ homes.”

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