Legal fight to save children’s heart surgery in Leeds

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Children’s Heart Surgery Fund’s Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign has taken its battle to save the specialist unit at Leeds General Infirmary to the High Court.

SOS announced this week it has applied to the court for permission for a judicial review. It is disputing the legality of the decision - by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust (JCPCT) - to close the unit, which would mean families with poorly children in Yorkshire having to travel to Newcastle, Birmingham or Liverpool for treatment. 
SOS’s concerns focus on how JCPCT scored the hospitals, the distance for patients to travel for treatment and the high quailty of service in Leeds.
A High Court judge will now review the legal arguments and determine whether there are merits in the case to decide if the legal challenge can take place.

Sharon Cheng, from Save Our Surgery, said: “It’s with great regret and reluctance that Save Our Surgery has decided to lodge this application for legal action against the decision to close the Leeds children’s heart surgery unit.

“Quite simply, we feel we’ve been left with no alternative after all other options put forward were rejected outright by the senior NHS officials responsible.

“Fundamentally, this action is about making sure that children across the country have proper access to vital, life-saving services.

“We remain hopeful that common sense and democracy will prevail, and that Health Ministers will use their powers to take up our proposed compromise solution, which offers a safer and more sustainable future for children’s heart surgery in the North than that advanced by the JCPCT.”