HUNDREDS of people are to stage a protest against plans which could see children’s heart surgery axed in Yorkshire.
Families will demonstrate at the Royal Armouries in Leeds tomorrow as NHS chiefs hold two consultation meetings about proposals to reconfigure children’s heart surgery services in England as part of long-running efforts to improve the quality of care.
Campaigners fear surgery at Leeds Children’s Hospital could end as it is included among only one of four potential options and of these is the fourth choice.
Leading specialists from the city say lives could be lost particularly from the east of the region owing to travel times of more than three hours for life-saving care at other centres including Newcastle, Liverpool and Leicester.
Among those attending the consultation tomorrow will be Becki Quick, 31, of Hull, whose three-year-old son Harvey underwent surgery for a hole in the heart and other medical problems in February.
She said yesterday that it was hoped Harvey would not need another operation but the family were concerned about the implications of travelling further for treatment both for their son and other families.
“We knew for some time this was coming and knew he was fit and well. Some people’s babies are taken off unexpectedly, families have not had time to make arrangements for other children and if they are having to go to Newcastle – and some people are in hospital for weeks and weeks. It’s a long time to be away from their family,” Ms Quick said.
In an increasingly bitter war of words, hospital chiefs have accused the review team of failing to take into account all the services provided in Leeds under one roof, one of only two paediatric hospitals in the country to do so.
Parents back fight for unit that transformed Harvey’s life: Page 5.