Family ‘thrilled’ at High Court ruling

Lorraine Hodkinson pictured with Son Jacob, three,  is campaigning over threats to move children's heart surgery from Leeds to Newcastle (w110322-6c)
Lorraine Hodkinson pictured with Son Jacob, three, is campaigning over threats to move children's heart surgery from Leeds to Newcastle (w110322-6c)

A Worksop mum is celebrating after protesters won a High Court battle against plans to remove children’s heart surgery from Leeds.

The Save Our Surgery group launched a legal challenge against the NHS Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust.

The group argued that the public consultation and subsequent decision to close the specialist children’s heart unit in Leeds was unlawful - and the High Court agreed.

Loraine Hodkinson from Gateford, Worksop, has been involved in the campaign.

Her son Jacob, now five, had life-saving heart surgery at Leeds when he was just nine days old and may not have survived if he’d had to travel further.

“We are understandably thrilled by the news from the courts which gives Leeds the much deserved second chance,” said Loraine.

“We are very fortunate that Jacob’s emergency surgery at nine days old in Leeds which saved his life, means that his defect has been corrected and is now only required to be reviewed every three years.”

“We are therefore fighting for Leeds to be saved for other families in our area who could need their services should they ever be faced with their worst nightmare of a child requiring heart surgery.”

Loraine, is one of thousands of parents who have spoken out against the proposal to end paediatric heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary,

“It is unthinkable that anyone from our area would have to travel to Newcastle or Birmingham with a sick child,” she said.

“So the only sensible decision is to keep the excellent services at Leeds open.”

Last July Loraine and her sons Jacob and Benjamin joined thousands of protestors at a rally in Millennium Square in Leeds to show their opposition to the planned NHS reforms.

Loraine said: “Since the march we have been following the story of Leeds closely and remain hopeful that common sense will prevail and the unit will continue to carry out the fantastic work they do.”

Sharon Cheng from Save Our Surgery said she was ‘extremely pleased’ the High Court had ruled in their favour.

She said the ruling supported the group’s belief that patients’ needs should be at the forefront in determining where heart surgery services are located.

Sharon hailed it as a ‘victory’ for the people who fought to keep children’s heart surgery services in Yorkshire.

SOS and its supporters must now wait to find out what the next steps are in terms of a decision about the overall review and its implementation. A further report is due this month.