Freeman Hospital plans to boost heart surgery unit

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A Newcastle hospital at the centre of a review into children's heart surgery has announced multimillion-pound plans to expand its heart surgery unit.

The Freeman Hospital's plans include a 20-bed intensive care unit for child heart patients.

A government review to begin later this year will consider whether child heart surgery should be focused at fewer, larger centres.

The Freeman said demand for heart services had "grown substantially".

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it was seeking planning permission for a three-storey complex which would be built to the south west of the existing Freeman site.

A spokesman said: "The Children's Heart Unit treats children who are in the most at-risk group and accepts referrals for this type of surgery from every UK and Republic of Ireland children's heart unit.

"The demand for cardiothoracic expertise at the Freeman Hospital has grown substantially over the unit's history since first opening in 1977."

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