Glenfield campaigners welcome heart unit ruling

Glenfield Hospital Staff at the Glenfield unit say their record in treating children should carry more weight

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Campaigners aiming to retain children's heart surgery in Leicester have welcomed a High Court ruling.

Glenfield is one of 3 units which face closure following a review.

On Wednesday a judge decided the consultation over services at Leeds was "ill-judged" but stressed this applied to Leeds only.

Families of children treated at Glenfield said the news was a boost while the hospital's board is meeting later to discuss its implications.

In July a review by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) of 10 units in England and Wales recommended closing centres at Leeds General Infirmary, Glenfield Hospital and London's Royal Brompton.

'Clinical case'

JCPCT said treatment would be improved by focussing resources and expertise at fewer, larger centres.

Adam Tansey, whose son had life-saving surgery at Glenfield, said: "(The ruling) confirms what we all thought, that the process was illogical at best but at worst unlawful.

"It just confirms what we suspected."

Head of children's heart surgery at Glenfield, Giles Peek, felt the news was highly significant.

"Exactly the same decision and logic were applied to all the centres, so although (the judge) wasn't considering how it applied to Glenfield, they used exactly the same methodology.

"So if it was unlawful for Leeds, it was unlawful for us but we haven't launched a legal challenge because we are relying on our clinical case."

An Independent Reconfiguration Panel, commissioned by Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to review the work of the JCPCT, is due to report in April.

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