Leicester heart surgery decision 'will be fought'

Glenfield Hospital Leicester
Image caption The trust which runs Leicester hospitals said stopping children's heart surgery in the city would impact its intensive care unit

Campaigners have promised to fight the decision to stop children's heart surgery in Leicester.

MPs are due to meet the Health Secretary on Monday following NHS England's decision over the future of the service at Glenfield Hospital.

Leicester MP Liz Kendall said it was a leading unit and believed there was a "real chance" it could be saved.

NHS England said the changes, which also included ending services at two other hospitals, will improve care.

Campaigners had previously thought they had saved child heart surgery in Leicester following a lengthy battle to improve its service.

But NHS England announced on Friday it will no longer commission the service from University Hospitals of Leicester, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust and the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust in London.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Campaigners worry the ending of surgery in Leicester will mean East Midlands families have to travel to Leeds, Birmingham or London

Ms Kendall, whose Leicester West constituency includes Glenfield, said: "The best clinical evidence shows we have some of the best outcomes of any unit in the country.

"When you have such a strong case you have to fight, and I believe there's a real chance here."

Adam Tansey, from Burbage, Leicestershire, helped lead the previous campaign after his son had life-saving surgery at Glenfield, and said NHS England now risked another legal challenge.

'High quality care'

He said the unit had been following a "strictly timetabled plan" to meet the required standards by 2018/19 and it had been "expressed that everyone had time to work to that standard".

He said the announcement that the service would be stopped was an "absolute shock".

The Trust which runs the hospital said it was on track to meet the standards and was "puzzled" by the decision which it will fight.

NHS England said there needed to be a minimum number of operations carried out by a unit to be considered safe and it did not think Glenfield would reach that figure.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, director of specialised commissioning at NHS England, said: "We know from working with patients they do want to get high quality care both now and into the future and they will travel for that care.

"These changes will make relatively small changes to those travel distances."

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