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Petition to save region’s kids heart unit

Stacey Whiteley and her son, Logan, who benefitted from the service in 2010 at just 11 months old

A local mother is supporting a national petition to help save a children’s heart unit in Leicester, which caters to Lincoln families.

The Paediatric Cardiac Surgery unit and Paediatric ECMO unit at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester (EMCHC) has been earmarked for closure.

Babies born in Lincoln and surrounding areas with congenital heart defects are usually referred to Glenfield Hospital to be treated.

The potential closure is due to an NHS review stating the expertise within the field of children’s heart problems is spread too thinly across the service, and needs to be more concentrated in less hospitals.

The current service in Leicester is expected to run through 2013, when it would be replaced with a service focused more on the diagnosis and monitoring of conditions.

It is the closest hospital for children and their families in the East Midlands to travel to, with the next closest (and continuing the heart service) being based in Birmingham or London.

According to the BBC, a number of hospitals caught up in the possible changes are fighting the decision, with NHS Trusts believing they are being treated “unfairly”.

Logan Whiteley (3) from Lincoln was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease at six weeks old, and had heart surgery at 11 months old in Leicester.

His mother, Stacey is currently a volunteer for heart charity Keep The Beat, and regularly holds fundraisers for the unit.

She said: “The government have made a mistake in recommending closure of our regions unit because this will mean that ECMO provision for children will not be as good if it closes.

“This will directly translate into the deaths of between 10 and 100 children per year.

“The loss of Glenfields surgical and ECMO expertise will affect not just ours but many other families in our region and unfortunately some that do not even know they need the service yet.”

The changes are backed by a number of politicians and even the Royal College of Surgeons.

Stacey is hoping to appeal the decision by supporting the petition, which has already amassed over 10,000 signatures.

“We need to reach and touch the hearts of thousands of people who are currently unaware of the situation and we need to ensure that the politicians understand the risk they are taking.”

Sign the petition