A heart surgery survivor working in Spalding has urged NHS leaders to “come to their senses” over plans which could leave her facing a 200-mile round trip for appointments.
Estate agent Chantilly “Tilly” Milverton (21) has described her “upset and distress” at proposals to shake up congenital heart disease (CHD) services in England.
Families in South Holland relying on the East Midlands CHD Centre at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, 60 miles from Spalding, face an extra 40-mile trip to Birmingham under the plans by NHS England.
Chantilly, who “flatlined” during heart surgery at Glenfield Hospital in June 2012, said: “My connection with Glenfield is very strong and I feel very upset and distressed that these services are in the balance.
“I’m disappointed that the plans have been made by people who have neither experienced or been unfortunate to have to use Glenfield.
“I sincerely hope that NHS leaders come to their senses and put a stop to this.
My connection with Glenfield is very strong and I feel very upset and distressed that these services are in the balanceChantilly Milverton, heart surgery survivor and patient at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester
“Don’t they realise children’s lives are at risk and their future outcomes could be disrupted, both physically and emotionally?
Chantilly’s plea has the backing of Coun Christine Talbot, Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire, who said: “People in Lincolnshire who have used these life-saving services are rightly passionate about making sure they are saved.
“The Health Scrutiny Committee have been fighting this battle for five years and we will be taking a full part in the consultation which has just been announced.
“We do not believe NHS England has thought through the full implications of stopping these services for very sick children and babies in Lincolnshire and across the East Midlands.”
Professor Huon Gray, National Clinical Director for Heart Disease at NHS England said: “It is our job to organise services so that every adult and child with congenital heart disease in this country gets not just safe or good care, but excellent care.
“No final decisions have been made and whether or not our proposals are carried out in the way we have suggested is subject to the outcome of public consultation.”
Concern of the future of CHD services at Glenfield Hospital has also reached Westminster.
John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, said: “Glenfield Hospital is really important to my constituents because people with acute and complex health conditions tend to be treated there.
“We make a lot of fuss, and rightly so, about local services.
“But everybody accepts that when you have a serious condition, it’s necessary to go to a highly specialised place like Glenfield and, as such, it’s an important resource that needs to be retained.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We have commissioned NHS England to find out what is the public’s opinion about the future of CHD services.
“But it’s very much an operational matter and it will be doctors who will make the final decision because it’s the clinicians who will know best.
“We trust their clinical judgement, but that will be based on the public consultation and until we get to the stage when that has been completed, there is nothing we can say.”