Leicester

Glenfield Hospital: Thousands sign heart unit petition

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition in protest at plans to stop children's heart surgery in Leicester.

On 4 July, a review found the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield Hospital ought be one of 10 to close nationally.

The online petition, which was was set up by campaigner Adam Tansey, has so far attracted 10,720 signatures.

If it reaches 100,000, the matter can be debated in the House of Commons.

'Thinly spread'

The centre, which conducts about 230 operations on children and 70 on adults each year, has the UK's largest ECMO unit - which is used to oxygenate the blood of critically ill patients.

The unit will stop surgery for children but will remain open to diagnose patients and for monitoring and non-surgical treatment.

It serves a population of about five million, with the next nearest similar unit in Birmingham, about 40 miles (64.4km) away.

Leslie Hamilton, vice chair of the Safe and Sustainable review's steering group, said they felt surgical expertise was spread too thinly around the country.

He said: "We felt we had to concentrate the expertise and reduce the number of centres in the country so we could have bigger centres with bigger surgical teams.

"That would lead to sustainable care for the future and also a big improvement in care."

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