Red alert to fight closure of Leeds children's heart unit
PARENTS of young cardiac patients have united ahead of a fundraising day to fight the closure of a vital heart unit.
And they are appealing to all business and schools across North East Lincolnshire to join Wear Red day on Friday, December 7.
As reported, the Joint Committee Of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) made the initial decision in July to reduce the number of children's heart units across the country from 11 to six or seven.
This sparked the Grimsby Telegraph-backed Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign, established to fight against the decision to close Leeds Children's Heart Unit – which is the closest centre to North East Lincolnshire.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
They have since submitted an application to the High Court for permission for a judicial review but have recently asked for the proceedings to be put on hold.
They hope to resume it after the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP)'s review – called for by Leicester's Joint Health and Overview and Scrutiny Committee and backed by its counterparts in Yorkshire and Humber – is completed at the end of February.
Sharon Cheng, of the Save Our Surgery campaign, said: "Seeking a judicial review was our last resort option and we would rather avoid court action and the costs associated with it if we can.
"At the time that we initiated legal proceedings the IRP referral had not taken place – now that it has, we need to see what the panel decides before proceeding.
"If their decision leads to us not needing a legal case, then money from events such as Wear Red, will be put back into the general fund to support patients and their family."
In the meantime this latest campaign will aim to raise money to finance a judicial review should it go ahead.
Joanne Rilatt, of New Waltham, is giving her full support to the Wear Red day as her son Benjamin, 8, had heart surgery in Leeds.
The 40-year-old said: "This fundraiser is another way to keep our voices heard and fight against the closure.
"Benjamin's school, Springfield Primary in Grimsby, has already shown its support to the cause."
Andy Willett, head teacher at the school, said: "Benjamin would not be here without the Leeds unit so that is why we are showing our support.
"Instead of joining in with Wear Red day, we have decided to split money raised from our Children In Need day.
"So far the total stands at £429 but there are still more cakes to be sold."
Cardiac patient Skyla Bee, 5, will need a heart transplant when older.
Her mum Dannielle is fighting to keep the Leeds unit open and will be donning something red for the charity day. She said: "All this hard work is not just to benefit our own children, it is to help those in the future that will be diagnosed with heart conditions and will need vital care close by."
Sir Neil McKay CB, Chair of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, said:
“Save Our Surgery Ltd, the campaign group based at Leeds General Infirmary, has announced that it will apply to the Court next week to postpone its own judicial review. This is a strange development given that it was Save our Surgery that requested the judicial review of our decision in the first place. The medical royal colleges and professional associations have welcomed our decision and they have cautioned that further delay will put children’s lives at risk. If there is to be a judicial review it should be heard as a matter of urgency.”
Any schools or businesses wanting to become a part of Wear Red can find out more at www.saveoursurgery.net. Alternatively, call Matthew Cassell on 0113 3925907.