Half a million want heart unit to stay in Yorkshire

Date:21st June 2011.'Campaigners arriving at Downing Street, London, to hand in a petition of over 500,000 signatures at number 10, against the possible closure of The children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary. Pictured Ambulance Assistance, Max Ashley-Collins, and Bill Baverstock, struggling to pull an ambulance trolley containing hundreds of petitions to stop the closure of the Leeds Children Heart Surgery Unit into the back of their ambulance outside Downing Street, London.
Date:21st June 2011.'Campaigners arriving at Downing Street, London, to hand in a petition of over 500,000 signatures at number 10, against the possible closure of The children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary. Pictured Ambulance Assistance, Max Ashley-Collins, and Bill Baverstock, struggling to pull an ambulance trolley containing hundreds of petitions to stop the closure of the Leeds Children Heart Surgery Unit into the back of their ambulance outside Downing Street, London.
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THE biggest petition ever collected in Yorkshire, with 500,000 names, was handed to Downing Street by The Children’s Heart Surgery Charity Fund.

It was prompted by the “Safe and Sustainable” review of health services which some fear could lead to the closure of the children’s heart unit in Leeds.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has backed the campaign to keep it open and prevent services being centralised in Newcastle.

“The case for Leeds to be included in more of the options is overwhelming and this huge petition highlights the strength of feeling for it to stay open.

“This is not a government decision but one to be taken by health care professionals but it is vital that we highlight the strength of feeling to the Prime Minister.”

MPs will be debating the review in the House of Commons with the hope of sending a clear message to those who will make the final decision.

“We all have constituents who have used this service and to relocate it to Newcastle from a highly populated area like Yorkshire is shear madness,” said Mr Whittaker.

“It is vital to the convalescence of these young children and families that they are able to travel, to be together and to support each other at a very stressful time - moving it further afield will without question hinder that process,” he said.