Heart op Mum voices concerns

A KIRK DEIGHTON mum whose daughter’s life was saved by heart surgeons says she is “disappointed” after the campaign to keep children’s heart surgery services in Leeds suffered a set back.

The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in London lost its legal bid last week to save its children’s heart unit after the Court of Appeal ruled that a national review, recommending its closure, was lawful.

Annette Jackson, 47, who is mum to nine-year-old Katie Jackson, told the Wetherby News in January of how her daughter’s life was saved by surgeons at the Leeds unit when she was just one month old.

Annette said this week she was “disappointed” with the latest decision.

“I worry about the newborn babies in the local area that are born with a heart problem, who, if they are then diagnosed, will need a heart surgery straight away that could mean travelling to Newcastle or Liverpool if the Leeds surgeons are taken away.

“We are still fighting and campaigning to keep the children’s heart surgeons in Leeds.”

Annette praised the “fantastic” care she had received with Katie at the children’s heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary but said she fears for the emotional and financial costs if the surgery arm of the unit were to close.

“It’s not just the travelling, but the physical, emotional and financial side of things too, which do take their toll.”

The case has been watched closely by Leeds General Infirmary and Wetherby heart patients who, like the Royal Brompton, face the loss of child heart surgery services in Leeds.

The Court of Appeal’s decision was immediately condemned by the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – the charity fighting to keep child heart services at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) against a threatened move to Newcastle.

LGI is included in only one of four options being considered in the NHS’s Safe and Sustainable review, which aims to concentrate specialist medical expertise in fewer, larger centres.

The other three possible outcomes all favour the move to Newcastle.

Fund director Sharon Cheng said she was “disappointed” at the decision, but had received assurances that a fifth option, which favoured Leeds, was now been considered for inclusion by the Joint Chairs of the Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT). A decision on the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit will be made on July 4, the JCPT said.