Mum’s fears for Freeman Hospital’s children’s heart services

RUBY WRIGHT: The toddler received life-saving treatment at the Freeman Hospital.
RUBY WRIGHT: The toddler received life-saving treatment at the Freeman Hospital.
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THE mum of a two-year-old Sunderland girl whose life was saved by the pioneering work of a North East heart unit, has hit out after the ward’s future was plunged into uncertainty once again.

Ruby Wright’s family, as well as others from across the North East, were relieved after they were told in July that children’s heart services at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, would remain.

The recommendations of the NHS Safe and Sustainable Review was to instead close units Leeds, Leicester and London.

But the life-saving facility’s future is under threat again after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review into the decision.

Mr Hunt has asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to carry out a review into the original decision. It now has to wait until February to hear its fate.

Ruby’s mum Laura Robinson said she and Ruby’s dad Daniel Wright, 31, are “sick” after hearing the latest news.

Speaking from her home in Springwell, Sunderland, Laura, 29, who is also mum to Millie, six, said: “It’s devastating.

“We thought the decision had already been made and now it looks like they have gone back on their word.”

Ruby was born with a ventricular septal defect, which meant she had a hole in the muscular partition in between the two chambers which pump blood to her heart.

An operation to repair the hole almost a year ago at the Freeman was deemed a success, but she will still have to go back for check-ups in the future.

“Ruby doesn’t have to back for another year, but we still want to support the unit,” added Laura, who along with Daniel, family and friends, has raised about £4,000 for the unit over the past year.

“She probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the expertise of the doctors there.”

Twitter: @davidallison88