Council backs heart unit fight

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SHEFFIELD Council has given its backing to a campaign to keep a life-saving heart surgery unit used by South Yorkshire children open.

Babies and youngsters currently needing heart surgery travel to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment - but the government is now planning to cut the number of children’s heart surgery centres across the country.

Of four options currently being considered, only one would see surgery in Leeds survive. If it is closed, children needed life-saving treatment would have to travel to Birmingham or Newcastle.

A petition containing thousands of names has been handed in to Downing Street, and Sheffield Council has now spoken out to give its back to the campaign to keep the unit open.

Coun Ian Saunders, who represents the city on a regional Health Overview Community, will ask a full council meeting today to give its unanimous backing to the appeal.

He said: “This kind of life-saving surgery is not offered anywhere else in the area. We simply cannot stand by and do nothing while decisions are made hundreds of miles away to destroy what we have here.” A decision is expected by the end of the year.