The Yorkshire Times - Leeds Heart Unit - Legal Challenge Goes Ahead

The long- awaited hearing into the closure of Leeds General Infirmary’s children’s heart [surgery] unit will go ahead as planned.
Attempts to delay a legal challenge to the closure of the children’s heart [surgery] unit at Leeds General Infirmary have now failed after a judge dismissed a bid to delay the hearing.

Campaign group Save Our Surgery had hoped to suspend its own legal proceedings until after the Independent Reconfiguration Panel had reported its findings in February 2013.

The original review had been condemned by the group for being flawed and meaning the end of children’s heart surgery in Leeds, Leicester and the Royal Brompton in London.

Parents in Yorkshire would be forced to travel to Newcastle, Birmingham or Liverpool.

However Judge Mackie QC rejected the idea of delaying the legal proceedings.

Sir Neil McKay, chairman of the panel which made the decision about which units would close, said: “Save Our Surgery Ltd brought a strange request to the court – to delay its own judicial review.

“This would have significantly delayed long overdue improvements to children’s heart services for months.”

“Enough is enough;
now let’s get on with it”

Chief executive of the Children’s Heart Federation (CHF), Anne Keatley-Clarke, who has previously expressed disappointment at the delays said it was “almost playing with the future of children and their parents” by trying to delay the legal proceedings.

She said: “It is not that I am against reviews, but this is probably one of the most looked-at reviews. Enough is enough; now let’s get on with it.”

In a Yorkshire Times video interview, Anne Keatley-Clarke clearly states her view that the time for change has arrived:

The CHF has been criticised for supporting the proposed changes, but Anne Keatley-Clarke said they are only doing their job.

“Our role is to represent the views of parents.

“The CHF is seen as a safe place for parents, even parents in the Yorkshire area who don’t perhaps agree with all that’s being said, to come to us and say we don’t have the bottle to stand up and say this but can you make it clear that not all parents agree,” she said.

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