Hope rises in Glenfield fight

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Campaigners in South Holland have made a breakthrough in their fight to save children’s heart surgeries at an East Midlands hospital.

A full review has been ordered by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt into plans to close the child heart surgery unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and move treatment to Birmingham after being advised there were grounds for a rethink.

The review will be done by an independent panel that advises the Health Secretary on controversial changes within the NHS and its findings are due to be made public by the end of February 2013.

Details of the review were announced on Monday before a parliamentary debate on plans to close the unit at Glenfield as part of a national reorganisation of child heart surgery services.

The debate was triggered when an online petition was signed by about 103,000 people in protest at the plans put forward by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) in July.

One of the campaigners, Paul Twell, of Gosberton Risegate, whose daughter Edie (4) had heart treatment at Glenfield, said: “I’m very pleased that the Health Secretary is listening to what people are saying and I just hope the panel report back that the unit at Glenfield should stay fully operational.”

Coun Christine Talbot, chairman of Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee, said: “This is excellent news and I’m really pleased for the parents and local campaigners who helped raise the profile of this issue.

“We firmly believe the tremendous facilities at Glenfield should remain available to Lincolnshire families.”