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LGI heart surgery judicial review splits opinion
An MP who has been fighting to prevent the end of children’s heart surgery in Yorkshire says he is “pleased” at moves to launch a judicial review.
The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) has instructed lawyers to lodge a judicial review into the decision taken earlier this year to stop surgery at the hospital, following a three-year nationwide assessment of services as part of the Safe and Sustainable Review.
And Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew, who has campaigned for the LGI unit to remain operational, says he hopes the review will prove the original decision – recommended by Sir Neil McKay, chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts – was wrong.
He added: “I was pleased to learn the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund has lodged papers for a judicial review of the decision.
“The review was fundamentally flawed and weighted against Leeds from the start, and it is incredibly important the legality of the proposed closure is examined.
“The Leeds unit is vital for children in Yorkshire and the north Midlands, and I hope the future judicial review will conclude that closing this resource goes against the very principles of patient choice and sustainable health planning.”
Legal action will be costly for both sides and is deeply regrettableSir Neil McKay
But last night, Sir Neil said the push for a judicial review to overturn the original decision was “hugely disappointing”, adding his committee would launch a “robust defence” of its decision.
“Children and their families have waited far too long for these vital services to be changed,” he said.
“We believe our decision – backed by professional associations and national charities – was the right one to ensure high quality sustainable services for the future. By pooling surgical expertise and expanding care closer to home, we will improve outcomes and clinicians will save more children’s lives.
“Legal action by the campaign group in Leeds to quash the entire decision means the views expressed during the public consultation would be ignored, as would the support for the model of care and the near unanimous agreement on new national quality standards.
“Legal action will be costly for both sides and is deeply regrettable.
“We will mount a robust defence of the decision, making process to ensure these vital changes are implemented as soon as possible.”