Leicester Glenfield Hospital heart unit petition over halfway

Glenfield Hospital
Image caption An NHS review decided to move the surgery team and specialist unit to Birmingham Children's Hospital

A petition aimed at trying to save children's heart surgery in Leicester has gained more than half its target.

More than 51,000 people have so far signed to secure a parliamentary debate to keep the unit at Glenfield Hospital.

On 4 July a review found the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre should be one of 10 to close nationally.

Campaigner Adam Tansey, from Burbage, who set up the e-petition, said the "pressure" needed to be kept on to get 100,000 signatures by mid-September.

'Insane' decision

The government-backed review recommended the service be moved to Birmingham, a decision that has angered families and medical experts.

"I'm excited that over 50,000 people have signed up and overwhelmed with the support in such a short time, but we need to keep the pressure on," Mr Tansey said.

"To have one unit for the centre of England, with a huge population, is insane.

"The unit is for the good of the children that are going to be born in the next decade, one in about 133 births will suffer from a congenital heart defect."

His youngest child, now three-years-old, was born with half a heart, had open heart surgery when he was only seven days old and has been having ongoing treatment since.

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

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