Local Authorities Leaders united on securing the future of Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Unit
Local Authority leaders, through the Local Government Yorkshire and Humber (LGYH) partnership, have again voiced their united and ongoing, cross-party concerns about the decision to close the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Unit. Leaders believe that the decision to close the unit is not in the best interests of the people of Yorkshire and Humber, or indeed the rest of the country, and runs counter to the NHS commitments around patient choice and ensuring better health outcomes.
Councillor Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council and Chair of LGYH said: ”Leaders from across the region are baffled as to how the NHS has made this decision. The proposed closure does not make clinical or logical sense and will severely disadvantage patients in Yorkshire and Humber and beyond. This is why we, as Local Authority Leaders of all Political Parties, are coming together – as indeed are our MPs - to voice our concerns and show a united front against this unjust and plainly wrong decision. We implore the Department of Health to review this decision which appears to be based not on operational or medical outcomes but on arbitrary factors. As local government leaders representing our communities right across the region we will remain united on this issue until the right and proper decision is made.”
Leaders have expressed a number of concerns about this decision and the way that the NHS has handled it. For example, despite it being public sector good practice, it does not appear that the NHS has disclosed all the information that contributed to this decision, which makes scrutiny extremely difficult. Not only do Leaders want this information disclosed but are asking the Secretary of State of Health to intervene in the decision.
Cllr John Illingworth, Leeds City Council Councillor and Chair of the Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which has representatives from every council across the region said: "It is welcome that Leaders from right across Yorkshire and Humber are adding their voice to those from Leeds and West Yorkshire in fighting this unfair decision. We are committed to providing public services that are based around the needs of local communities. We believe that the decision on the Leeds Children’s’ Heart Surgery Unit will ultimately harm patient services across the region and the wider country. That’s why we will fight this decision all the way.”
Local Government Yorkshire and Humber wrote to the previous Secretary of State for Health earlier in the year to raise their concerns. LGYH will now be writing to the new Secretary to ask for a meeting with Leaders so that concerns can be raised and discussed in person.
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