More than 25,000 people, including families from South Holland, have signed a petition to keep children’s heart services at an East Midlands hospital.
The threat of specialist surguries leaving Glenfield Hospital in Leicester has led to a wave of support from people across the area whose children have been treated at the hospital.
So far, 25,016 people have backed an online petition calling for a public review of the decision by NHS England, announced last month, to close the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre (EMCHC) at Glenfield.
Dan Taylor of Holbeach, whose son Oliver (4) had heart surgery at Glenfield in June, said: “So many people rely on this excellent hospital and we can honestly say that the care there was second to none.
“The staff are not just dedicated to their work but they are also a rock for all the families and children, providing excellent support at such a difficult time
“If Glenfield’s heart centre closes, the East Midlands will have no provision for this and families will have to travel an excessive distance.”
EMCHC has made excellent progress over the last few years and this has all been achieved against a backdrop of many years of uncertaintyMark Wightman, director of marketing and communications, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester
Senior managers at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, met with NHS England officials on Friday to argue against the loss of its East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre (EMCHC) and claims that they had failed to come up with “a credible plan” to increase the number of surgeries there to a minimum of 500 a year.
Mark Wightman of Glenfield Hospital said: “EMCHC has made excellent progress over the last few years and this has all been achieved against a backdrop of many years of uncertainty.
“We fail to see how leaving the East Midlands as the only region nationally without a centre is equitable.”
Professor Huon Gray, national clinical director for heart disease at NHS England, said: “We are keen to work with the management and clinicians at Leicester to retain the majority of specialist medical care which would mean that congenital heart disease in the East Midlands can still receive their ongoing care and more minor interventions in Leicester.”