Leeds & West Yorkshire

High Court bid to save Leeds children's heart surgery

Protesters in Leeds
Image caption A demonstration was held in Leeds in July by people opposed to the decision

Campaigners have mounted a legal challenge against a decision to end children's heart surgery in Leeds.

An official review concluded in July that Leeds General Infirmary should stop surgery so care could be concentrated at fewer, larger sites to improve standards.

Children will instead have to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for surgery.

The Save Our Surgery (SOS) group has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the NHS decision.

The official review concluded children's heart units at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital and London's Royal Brompton should also stop surgery.

'Not listened to'

It ruled surgery would continue at Great Ormond Street in London, Evelina Children's Hospital, also London, Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Alder Hey in Liverpool and the Royal Children's Hospital in Bristol or Southampton General.

As part of the review process, each hospital was visited by a panel of experts and given a score based on its performance.

The SOS legal challenge centres around how those scores were worked out and the level of scrutiny they were subjected to.

Sharon Cheng, from SOS, said they were seeking the judicial review as they felt "as though we have not been listened to".

She said: "We tried compromise, we have tried the political route which we are still going down, but time wasn't on our side."

Thousands of people have taken part in demonstrations opposing the removal of children's heart surgery from the hospital and 600,000 people have signed a petition.

The former national clinical director for heart disease and stroke, Sir Roger Boyle, who was one of the experts advising the review, said the NHS had made the right decision and that Leeds General Infirmary would continue to play a vital role providing cardiology services to children.

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