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Health Secretary letter fight to save heart unit
12:00pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in Local news
A senior councillor will tell a secretary of state it is ‘unacceptable’ for the children’s heart surgery unit at a Leeds hospital to close.
Councillor Mike Gibbons, chairman of Bradford Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, will write to Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.
He is the latest person to add his voice to condemnation of the decision to close the Leeds General Infirmary centre, which provides care for youngsters across the district and the whole of Yorkshire.
Members of the committee have voted to request Coun Gibbons writes to Mr Lansley backing calls from the council and the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Yorkshire and the Humber for a rethink on the decision taken last month.
The announcement came after a three-year nationwide review of heart services by Sir Neil McKay, chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts.
He has said he will defend his decision with ‘rigour’ after it was called in and referred to Mr Lansley, who will inspect the review and Sir Neil’s conclusions, and has the power to overturn the closure.
But Coun Gibbons, who represents the Ilkley ward, will now compose a response to Mr Lansley as soon as possible, and said many feel Sir Neil has made the wrong choice.
He added: “The overwhelming feeling in the Bradford area is the decision is simply unacceptable.
“It must be obvious to almost everyone apart from Sir Neil McKay and his committee that the statistics involved and the numbers of people affected far outweigh other consider-ations, particularly given Leeds is highly effective as a cardiac unit.
“The decision taken will also have an impact on adult cardiac services in Leeds.”
If the decision is backed by Mr Lansley, families will be forced to take children to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle for treatment.
Coun Gibbons’ committee also decided to refer Sir Neil’s decision to Mr Lansley, and to receive a further report in a meeting next month.