'Extra burden on patients and families'
POLITICIANS have backed parents and the council in appealing the decision to end children's heart surgery at the region's dedicated unit in Leeds.
Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell and Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers have expressed their disappointment with vote to close the heart unit at Leeds Royal Infirmary.
As reported, the decision was made in London on Wednesday night at the NHS's Safe and Sustainable review into national children's heart surgery provision.
It means young cardiac patients from within this area will have to travel further for life-saving surgery – with Newcastle being the closest to Grimsby.
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Mr Mitchell said: "It is very bad news and it seems to me to be an ill-advised decision because they have not really taken the Humber's transport needs into account.
"They didn't consult us. The hospital trust was adamant that they wanted Leeds to remain open and they used it.
"But the decision does not take into account the extra burden that is going to be imposed on patients and their families.
"We don't send that many cases from this area to Leeds but for those who do use it will now face the choice of having to go to Newcastle or Liverpool, which is going to impose a financial burden on them as well.
"So I think the decision is absolutely appalling, especially as I don't think our views were particularly considered.
"That's why we as local MPs shall certainly appeal the decision and I would urge the local authority to do the same."
Mr Vickers said: "I am very unhappy with this decision and have heard from many constituents who value the service provided in Leeds.
"The fight will go on to save the service and I will be taking up the issue directly in London at the earliest opportunity."
As reported, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said there would be a possibility for councils to appeal against the decision - which would delay the process by at least two months.
He said: "The fact this decision has been made independently does not mean there is not scope for that decision to be referred back to me."
He could also intervene if he feels national specialist commissioning, which is his responsibility, is compromised by the committee's decision.
Experts claim the decision will lead to safer services and ensure doctors and surgeons are able to maintain their expertise.
However, parents, MPs and campaigners have been fighting to save the Leeds centre since the process began.
The Grimsby Telegraph launched the Save Our Surgery campaign, which received hundreds of supportive comments.
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