Fight goes on to save Sheffield children’s heart unit

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PARENTS in South Yorkshire have welcomed a judge’s decision to order ‘re-consultation and reconsideration’ over the planned closure of a children’s heart unit.

Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, sitting at the High Court in London, partly quashed an NHS consultation which led to the decision to shut the unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

The judge said yesterday that aspects of the consultation process were ‘ill-judged’ - but stressed she was only quashing ‘one part’ of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts’ decision.

Mrs Justice Davies’ judgement followed protests by the Save Our Surgery campaign group.

Cassie Symms, aged 29, from Dinnington, whose two-year-old son Zander has been treated at the unit for a leaking heart valve, said the outcome still gave her hope the closure would be overturned completely.

Save Our Surgery argued the consultation was flawed as Leeds General Infirmary was not shown a set of scores which could have helped it make a better case for survival.

“Hopefully now they’ll bring the whole set of results out,” said Cassie. “We’re prepared for it to still go on for months and months. We’ll just stay behind the campaign and see where it goes.”

Coun John Illingworth, chair of the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Yorkshire and the Humber, said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the judgement.