Families in Spalding and south Lincolnshire are renewing their fight to save heart surgeries at an East Midlands hospital.
A new campaign has been launched to stop the Government from moving congenital heart disease (CHD) services from Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, as soon as April 2017.
NHS England, in a report published on Friday, claimed the hospital failed to meet “new commissioning standards” for CHD services and was “extremely unlikely to be able to do so” by 2021.
But Francesca Larsson (35) of Spalding, whose daughter Sofia (six) spent three months in hospital at Glenfield after she was born with a rare heart condition, said: “If we were facing surgery with Sofia now, we would be very concerned about NHS England’s decision.
“Hearing that the centre where your child is due to have surgery is to close in less than a year increases the worry and uncertainty felt by parents at what is an already stressful time.
“Whilst Sofia could have surgery at another centre, such as the one at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, our next closest centre after Leicester, this would bring a whole host of issues from a family point of view.”
If we were facing surgery with Sofia now, we would be very concerned about NHS England’s decisionFrancesca Larsson (35), of Spalding
Meanwhie, Chantilly Milverton (21) of Boston is still under the care of a heart consultant at Glenfield after surgery there for an irregular heart beat six years ago.
Chantilly said: “Once again, services at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital are being cut and for me it’s heart-breaking.
“I don’t think NHS England realises what it’s doing as Glenfield is actually a top performing cardiac centre which saved my life.
“Therefore, I have every reason to want to keep it open for the benefit of others.
“Time is so precious for children with heart defects or problems and they need specialist care there and then, not at a hospital that is a three-hour drive away.”
In announcing the decision to move congenital heart disease services away from Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, NHS England did raise the prospect of keeping “specialist medical services” there.
Dr Jonathan Fielden, NHS England director of specialised commissioning, said: “Patients, families and staff need to be assured of sustainable, high quality services now and into the future.
“There has been a great deal of uncertainty over the future of congenital heart disease services over the past 15 years and we owe it to patients, families and staff to end that uncertainty by providing clear direction for the safety and quality of this specialist area of medicine going forward.
“A great deal of work has gone into achieving consensus across the board on the standards that providers should meet and we are determined to take all actions necessary to ensure that those standards are met.”
To support a petition backing Glenfield, visit www.change.org/p/jeremy-hunt-mp-save-the-east-midlands-congenital-heart-centre