Public meeting bid to keep heart unit which saved Sienna

Saved: Sienna Singleton, aged 4, with mum Kerry. Photo: Michael Ford
Saved: Sienna Singleton, aged 4, with mum Kerry. Photo: Michael Ford
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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to keep a children’s heart surgery centre in Yorkshire are hoping to win public backing in Doncaster at the weekend.

The Save Our Surgery Campaign has called a public meeting in the borough to brief residents on the threat to the children’s heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary and outline the campaign against the moves.

The unit is the nearest place for Doncaster families to attend for treatment and many are concerned about the threat to its future.

Kerry Singleton, from Shildon Grove, Moorends, has already signed a petition opposing the closure of the unit, where her daughter Sienna was treated when she was just six weeks old.

She was born with heart valves the wrong way round and a hole in her heart and had to undergo a 16-hour operation to treat the problem.

Kerry said Sienna would not have survived if she had been forced to travel further than Leeds for her treatment. Today she still attends regular check-ups there.

The Doncaster meeting, at the Earl of Doncaster Hotel on Saturday at 11am, is one of a series of public meetings which are being held around Yorkshire, organised by The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), the charity behind the campaign.

Speakers will include surgeons and parents of current and former patients.

Their concerns include:

n potential loss of the specialist team of surgeons and nurses from the region;

n increased travel times for patients and families to attend an alternative centre, such as Newcastle;

n a reduction in the number of intensive care beds for all child patients in Yorkshire if children’s heart surgery were to be taken away from the region.

The Department of Health began a four-month consultation process on plans to cut the number of children’s heart surgery centres in England. Of the four options being considered, only one will see Leeds survive.

n Visit www.chsf.org.uk to sign the petition online.