Parents' joy as court backs fight to save Leeds Children's Heart Unit
"I BURST into tears at work as I could not hide my delight."
These are the words of Joanne Rilatt, of Grimsby, one of many parents who is celebrating today following a High Court's ruling in favour of the Leeds Children's Heart Unit.
As reported on www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk yesterday, a judge found the decision to close the Leeds unit, made by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust (JCPCT), and the process which was taken, to be unlawful.
There will be a subsequent hearing in three weeks' time – provisionally set for March 27 – when the court will decide on the remedy following this decision.
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However, Joanne – whose son Benjamin, 8, was a heart patient in Leeds – believes this latest announcement is a step in the right direction.
She said: "I am overjoyed that the court has backed our fight to save the Leeds unit.
"I feel our hard work is finally paying off, but the fight is not over just yet.
"It is the positive news we have all been waiting for and I hope it is a sign of good things to come."
Dannielle Bee, of Grimsby, said she feels as though a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.
Her daughter Skyla-Paige Bee, 6, has already undergone two operations, including open-heart surgery at Leeds to help save her life. She said: "This decision is fantastic and I hope it sets us on the right road to officially save the unit in Leeds.
"Finally we feel as though we are getting somewhere and this is great."
Alex McGrory, of Immingham, was apprehensive anything could change what had already been decided, but she said she is overwhelmed by the recent news.
Her daughter Mia, 4, received heart surgery in Leeds.
She said: "We will continue fighting, but this is a positive step, not only for us, but parents who will need the Leeds heart surgery facilities in the future."
In contrast to the campaigners' delight, Sir Neil McKay CB, chairman of the (JCPCT), said he was disappointed with the decision made by the Court.
He said: "We will strongly consider the possibility of appeal."
In addition to the Court's ruling, the outcome of an Independent Reconfiguration Panel review requested by the Health Secretary of State is due at the end of March.
THE heart unit decision was a massive victory for the campaigners who have been tireless in their efforts to see this move stopped in its tracks.
There is nothing that stirs more emotion and passion than the issue of children’s health – and rightly so.
The campaigners, many of who have undergone the trauma of caring for desperately sick children, have not given in, in their bid to take this NHS decision to the top.
In short, they believe it is fundamentally flawed and will have a detrimental impact on children and their families who live in North and North East Lincolnshire.
Health bosses have defended the decision, saying services in one place will be able to offer far better care and technical medical expertise at a time when methods are advancing all the time.
This is going to be a hard-fought battle.
*Have you used the unit in Leeds, let us know by commenting on this story
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