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Let’s support the Children’s Heart Unit #saveourCHU

November 1, 2012

I am sure you are as disappointed as I am about the decision to refer the closure of children’s heart surgery units to an independent NHS panel, especially as any negative outcome will have a massive affect on the future of children’s heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital and putting the lives of our children at risk.

Boy on ward

Next week I will be proposing a motion to Full Council into this decision and asking the Secretary of State for Health why he has decided to re-examine the findings of the Safe and Sustainable Review, whose sole task was to highlight which units across the country were best equipped in dealing with the delivery of children’s heart surgery.

This review was the largest ever public consultation within the NHS and around 75,000 comments were received from the public which identified the work at Newcastle’s children’s heart unit as one of the best in the country.

Over the last 25 years it has been responsible for saving the lives of so many of our children, both here in the North East and also from further afield, and it would be a tragedy if the future of this world-class unit was plunged into more uncertainly.

I am sure this shock decision by the Secretary of State has not been welcomed by the patients, their families and staff at the Freeman and I hope that their fight to retain children’s heart surgery in Newcastle was not in vein.

The children’s heart unit is one of the jewels in our crown and we are immensely proud of its world-class reputation and achievements. With our partners across the city, the city council will do everything it can to convince the government that their original decision to save the unit stands.

There is also a petition to save the future of the Freeman by going to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40685.

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