Doubt over future of children’s heart unit

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CHILD heart patients in Sunderland have been dealt a blow after campaigners won a High Court challenge over proposed changes to children’s heart surgery services in England.

Save Our Surgery (SOS), which is trying to stop the closure of the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary in favour of maintaining services at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, argued the consultation process leading up to the changes was “unfair and procedurally flawed”.

The decision comes as a blow for scores of Wearside families who have had sick children cared for by the Children’s Heart Unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, sitting at London’s High Court, ruled that the Leeds challenge must succeed – but what the victory means for the future of Newcastle’s Children’s Heart Unit will be decided at a later date.

An SOS statement said: “This judgment is in itself a victory for the people who fought to keep children’s heart surgery services in Yorkshire, and to challenge what they knew to be a flawed and unjust process.”