Have a heart and keep unit open

BOSTON Labour councillors are bitterly disappointed with the news that our specialist children’s heart surgery unit at a Leicester hospital is to close, due to reorganisation of national services, which were announced last week.

The East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield Hospital was one of 10 under review in a move to focus expertise in fewer locations.

The unit will stop surgery, but will remain open to diagnose patients, monitoring and non-surgical treatment.

A petition to save it attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

The centre, which conducts about 230 operations on children and 70 on adults each year, has the UK’s largest ECMO unit (a form of partial cardiopulmonary bypass) which oxygenates blood of critically-ill patients.

It serves a population of about five million, with the next nearest similar unit in Birmingham, 40 miles away, but more than 100 miles from Boston.

Boston Labour councillors say that everybody they have spoken to has had a good experience of Glenfield, nobody has a bad word to say about it and the service there is unique to any other hospital – it is very personal.

We know that Heartlink has provided Glenfield with parents’ accommodation, a helicopter pad and a quiet garden. The facilities are excellent and they would be difficult to replicate elsewhere.

We doubt if our local Tory council or our local Tory MP will support this plea to keep the hospital open. Just another sad loss to our local community and the wider community of East Midlands.