Heart patient family backs campaign to save specialists

Martin Simpson
Martin Simpson
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THREE members of a Doncaster family who have all suffered unrelated heart complaints are fervent supporters of the campaign to save the specialist cardiac unit at Leeds which is under threat of closure.

Campsall man Martin Simpson, aged 53, and two of his children – now grown up – have all needed life-saving treatment at Leeds General Infirmary.

Mr Simpson, an IT worker, had heart surgery at LGI when he was 18 and his son, Christopher, now 27, needed an operation when he was seven. He expects to need further surgery in the future because of defective heart valves.

Younger daughter Victoria, now a 21-year-old university student, had to be taken to hospital for a heart op when she was only six weeks old but the family were told their problems were not hereditary.

Elder daughter Kerry, aged 24, is the only child not to need heart surgery after she grew out of a mild heart complaint as a child.

Mr Simpson said: “We had to rush Victoria in when she was tiny and it was reassuring to know that we knew where we were going and that we knew all the staff when we got there.

“I’m sure many other people feel like that. You don’t want the change or the long journey to a new place.”

A review by the NHS has suggested that England’s 11 specialist heart units should be reduced to six – and the nearest one for Yorkshire patients would be in Newcastle.

Mr Simpson, his wife, Rosemary, and their children are all supporting the campaign which has collected signatures from 250,000 people in support of retaining the Leeds unit.