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Watchdog calls for heart surgery services to be retained
2:28pm Friday 8th March 2013 in News
HEART surgery facilities for both children and adults should continue to be offered at hospitals in Newcastle and Leeds, a health watchdog has claimed.
Councillor Jim Clark, chairman of North Yorkshire’s Scrutiny of Health Committee, said it was vital the services are not “rationalised”, along the lines proposed by the NHS.
The call follows the High Court upholding a legal challenge against the process in which the NHS proposed axing the children’s cardiac unit at Leeds General Infirmary.
The NHS says resources for the region should be centred on Newcastle and Liverpool.
Coun Clark said it was important not to remember the legal ruling concerned the process, rather than the proposal.
He said: “The cardiac unit at Leeds General Infirmary serves a very large geographic area, and it is totally unreasonable to expect people to travel three hours or more to get the kind of cardiac care to which they are entitled.
“We have said to the Secretary of State for Health that neither Leeds nor Newcastle is broken, and neither needs fixing.
“The retention of both is essential to ensure that patient care continues to be delivered in the most effective way possible.”
A decision on the future of NHS heart surgery services by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel is expected at the end of March.