Published at 11:25, Thursday, 05 July 2012

Decision day for the future of regional children’s heart surgery proved to be a nail-biting time for families in Cumbria.

All indications had been that the Leeds bid to be the northern paediatric heart services centre would be successful and that children from this county would be faced with long journeys and stays away from home, when in need of specialised, lifesaving surgery.

Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital was the winner – a cause for celebration here, as well as in the north east.

The Children’s Heart Federation has welcomed the decision, for finally putting a relieving end to anxious waiting and worrying.

But this may not be the last word in the wrangling over paediatric healthcare, which has set city against city, region against region, in attempts to demonstrate excellence.

In the end, of course, the move to ‘streamline’ services, even in this crucial area of vital treatments and care can be translated into other terms – more familiarly referred to as cost cuts. And that has angered those hospitals which have lost out.

But the national review board insists it has put the needs of children, based on extensive consultations, not the vested interests of hospitals at the heart of all considerations.

That’s refreshing – though likely to be contested – and a welcome boost of reassurance for all Cumbrian families of very sick children.



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Gift Aid