Cleethorpes and Grimsby MPs up to speed with Leeds Children's Heart Unit challenge
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Leeds Children's Heart Unit have briefed MPs in the wake of a legal challenge against the decision to close the service.
Grimsby Telegraph-backed Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaigners met Cleethorpes and Grimsby MPs Martin Vickers and Austin Mitchell in the House of Commons yesterday morning.
Mr Vickers said: "We're on the very edge of the area the Leeds unit serves and the impact on families with young children is unacceptable.
"The irony is, if you had a blank piece of paper and had to put these units in a convenient location for large numbers of people, then Leeds is where you'd naturally put it."
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The meeting followed a hearing at the High Court in London – the latest stage in a campaign which began last year when the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) decided to concentrate paediatric cardiac surgery at fewer, larger sites to improve standards.
But it means children currently treated in Leeds, including those in North East Lincolnshire, will have to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for surgery.
Mr Vickers is convinced that from a political point of view, MPs and SOS campaigners have "done everything we possibly can", adding: "I've spoken to Jeremy Hunt about it and he's well aware of public feeling in the Cleethorpes and Grimsby area."
The Kennedy Panel, a group of experts set up to advise the JCPCT, will report in late March to the Health Secretary, who then has a month to make a decision.