The mum of a six-year-old boy, born with multiple heart defects, is fearful of the ‘massive impact’ the closure of the East Midlands Congenital Heart Unit based at Glenfield Hospital will have upon families like hers.
Melton mum Ashleigh Woods is among the thousands of people who have signed petitions calling for children’s heart surgery to continue at Glenfield.
Her son, Jack, has had four open heart surgeries at Glenfield after being born with multiple heart defects. She explained the main arteries to her son’s heart were the wrong way round, he was born with a hole in the heart and with an underdeveloped right aorta and right ventricle.
Jack, who was born at 38 weeks, was transferred straight to Glenfield where he underwent heart surgery at six days old. Ashleigh said the Glenfield saved her son’s life two years ago when he had to have more heart surgery.
Jack, who now has only half of his heart working, will need a heart transplant in the future. He will be on warfarin and heart medication for the rest of his life.
Ashleigh, who is now expecting another child, said she was so thankful to the Glenfield and for being able to stay at the hospital and be there for Jack when he’d had surgery there.
She said: “The Glenfield saved his life for which we’ll be forever grateful. If it wasn’t for them he wouldn’t be here today.
“It’s awful to think so many families are going through hell, worried the heart unit at Glenfield is going to close. If children’s heart surgeries stop there there’s going to be uproar.
“Jack could go into heart failure at any time. Having Glenfield so close is so vital and we trust them. If the unit closes how are parents going to get to places like Birmingham. Leeds or London? That’s a long way to travel for heart surgery. It’s going to have a massive impact upon families. As well as the travelling and financial impact it’s all the unknowns including not knowing who will be looking after your child.
“The first I heard that NHS England was proposing to close the Glenfield unit was on Facebook. I don’t understand its reasons when so many children go there. I’ve heard it’s to do with the number of heart surgeries carried out there which I think is just ridiculous. It’s always been packed with children whenever we’ve been there. It’s just not right.
“NHS England really need to think about the impact their decision is going to have on so many families. “They’re not looking at the bigger picture. We need the Glenfield to stay.”
NHS England has said it will hold a public consultation before any decision is made.
n Petition: tinyurl.com/saveglenfieldunit