Consultation starts into Glenfield heart unit's future
A public consultation has started into children's heart services in England that could result in closure of the heart surgery unit at Leicester's Glenfield hospital.
The Leicester unit is one of several across the country that the government has said is under threat.
The four-month consultation will run until July.
Some families of children with heart conditions have expressed concern at the possible closure.
The NHS has said that the surgical centres would be turned into children's cardiology centres instead.
The surviving centres would have at least four consultant congenital heart surgeons treating a minimum of 500 children each year.
"To improve outcomes for children and ensure services are safe and sustainable for the future, highly complex specialist surgery for children with CHD should be provided by fewer larger centres," an NHS statement said.
Anthony Brown, whose son Jed was treated at the Glenfield hospital, said it would have been much more difficult for the family had Jed been operated on at the next nearest child heart unit in Birmingham, 40 miles (64.4km) away.
Adam Tansley, from Burbage in Leicestershire, whose young son was born with half a heart, said: "The stress it would have on our family dynamic over the long haul does not bear thinking about."