Victory for campaign group in heart unit court case

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PARENTS from South Yorkshire have won a High Court challenge in their campaign to overturn a decision to shut the county’s nearest children’s heart unit.

The protest group Save Our Surgery brought the case against the NHS Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust’s plans to remove children’s heart surgery services from Leeds.

A ruling, handed down by a judge this morning, found the committee’s process and decision were unlawful.

Sharon Cheng, from Save Our Surgery, said: “This judgment finally confirms what we have always believed - that the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust’s review process and decision to remove children’s heart surgery services from Leeds was unlawful.

“Winning this case in the High Court proves once and for all that the supposed consultation was a rubber-stamping exercise conducted with an outcome in mind, with clinicians, MPs and patients fooled into feeling they had influence.

“This action was taken by parents and clinicians who simply could not stand by and watch a clear injustice being done. We are extremely pleased and relieved that the High Court has found in our favour.”

But Sir Neil McKay, chair of the JCPCT, said he was ‘very disappointed’ with the court’s decision.

“We do not yet know what the court will decide in terms of next steps,” he said.

“We are making representations to the court that it should not quash the decision in its entirety as the Claimant seeks. Once we have the Court’s judgment on this point we will strongly consider the possibility of appeal.”