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Supporting Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Unit

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This morning the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) examining the provision of children’s heart surgery held a meeting in Parliament to hear the concerns of Members of Parliament about their proposed changes. Meg Munn MP attended because of her concerns about the proposal to close the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Unit.  

The IRP proposed closing the Leeds unit because it has not met the minimum number of annual surgical procedures deemed necessary. Their plan has garnered cross-party opposition, and nearly half of the Yorkshire MPs were represented at the meeting.

A number of concerns were raised regarding the scrapping of Leeds’ services. They include the fact that Leeds offers a co-location for multiple health services and that the region’s population makes it a perfect candidate for a heart surgery location.

The IRP proposal is to direct patients to the unit in Newcastle, and it was met with several challenges, including the difficulty of transporting patients, parents, and families to an area that is less accessible by public transport. Several MPs said that their constituents would be more likely to travel to Liverpool, Birmingham, or even London.

Meg commented:

“I am concerned that if Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Unit is closed we will inevitably drift from proper regional centres to the situation where services are simply located in London. If a child needs immediate intervention the time it takes to transport them to the appropriate care becomes a major concern. The people of Yorkshire live in the real world and the amount of MP support we saw today shows just how important this issue is.”

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