Dismay after heart unit decision is delayed

Glenfield Hospital, venue for the under-threat East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre EMN-170922-160911001
Glenfield Hospital, venue for the under-threat East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre EMN-170922-160911001
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Campaigners fighting to save a children’s heart unit which is used by Melton families have been told they must wait another two months for a decision.

NHS England had been expected to decide whether to go ahead with its threat to close the Leicester-based East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre next week.

But they have now been told that a decision will be not now be finalised on the service, which is located at Glenfield Hospital, until Thursday November 30.

More than 7,000 responses were this year made to a consultation into the proposals to end heart sugery there with many calling for it to be retained because patients would face much longer journeys to alternative units at Birmingham or Manchester and lives would be threatened as a result.

And a letter sent by NHS England to the Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre group and other stakeholders informed them about the delay on deciding, stating: “As you know, the Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) consultation ended in July and we are determined to ensure careful analysis of the very full responses we have received.”

A spokesperson for the Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre said: “Obviously this is not what we wanted to hear, especially only a week before we had geared ourselves up for a descision at the end of this month.

“However given that probably the vast majority of the responses were in favour of the unit remaining in the East Midlands, we are not sure what more ‘careful analysis’ they can make of thousands of people saying ‘don’t close this unit’ for any number of sound reasons, and why it will take another two months to do so.”

A petition signed by 130,000 names was delivered to the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street in February and thousands of people have taken part in protest marches through Leicester to oppose the closure plans.