Cautious welcome for heart unit debate

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FAMILIES in Spalding have given a cautious welcome to plans for a parliamentary debate on the future of a child heart surgery unit.

MPs are today due to discuss a recommendation to close the unit at Glenfield Hospital Leicester after more than 40,000 people signed an online petition calling for a rethink.

The petition has been backed by several families in Spalding whose children’s lives have been saved by staff at Glenfield which has pioneered ECMO treatment.

Lucy Youngs, of Chamomile Way, Spalding, whose son Olly Ansell (2) was treated at Glenfield, said: “I don’t want to get my hopes up too much but it’s good that they’re debating it because of the amount of people who have signed the petition.”

Christer and Francesca Larsson, whose daughter Sofia had several life-saving operations at Glenfield, have written to the Government about Glenfield’s future.

In a letter to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, Mrs Larsson, of Stonegate, Spalding, said: “Under the proposed new configuration, my daughter would have undergone six ambulance transfers between London and Glenfield as and when she needed surgery and intensive care.

“This is just ludicrous and will result in the loss of many more lives than keeping one or two more surgical units.

Review panel chairman Sir Neil McKay CB, said: “The needs of children, not the vested interests of hospitals, have been at the heart of this review.”