Melton people urged to support protest against planned heart unit closure

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Melton people who want to join the fight to save the children’s heart unit at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital are being urged to take part in a march through the city.

Around 130,000 have signed a petition calling for the service to be retained and for an NHS decision to close the facility to be reversed.

Hundreds of people are expected to march in protest from Victoria Park to Jubilee Square on Saturday February 11, two days after a delegation is due to hand the petition in to 10 Downing Street in London.

One of the lead campaigners, Shirley Barnes, said: “I’m not suprised so many signed the petition because people are very angry we could lose something so vital.

“If the unit is closed it will have a massive impact on those families affected, especially if they have to travel a long way for a child to be treated.

“It is going to affect people throughout the East Midlands as well as those of us in Leicestershire.”

Leicestershire County Council has just announced it will pledge £50,000 to support any legal challenge to the proposed closure, if the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust decides to seek judicial review.

Councillor Ernie White, cabinet minister for health at County Hall said: “I fully support the campaign to save this unit, which is so valued by families across Leicestershire and the wider region.

“I said from the outset that this was a flawed decision. The Care Quality Commission has just rated this service as outstanding for effectiveness, making NHS England’s proposal to close it look not only flawed but foolish.

“That’s why we are committing £50,000 to support the UHL Board, in the event it is forced to challenge the decision in the courts.”