Crowle girl caught up in heart unit row

Zoe Payne, seven, of Crowle, has heart problems and is treated at Leeds heart unit which is threatened with closure. Picture: Marie Caley E4156MC
Zoe Payne, seven, of Crowle, has heart problems and is treated at Leeds heart unit which is threatened with closure. Picture: Marie Caley E4156MC
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An Isle mum has spoken out after her daughter was caught up in the confusion surrounding the future of a specialist heart unit.

An Isle mum has spoken out after her daughter was caught up in the confusion surrounding the future of a specialist heart unit.

Louise Payne has voiced concern that politics has become more important that children following the sudden closure of the unit in Leeds.

Her daughter Zoe owes her life to surgeons at the unit after undergoing surgery when just eight days old. She still requires check ups at the hospital.

Louise Payne, of Crowle, voiced her fears that “politics has over-ridden common sense and putting children first,” as she and a network of parents across the Isle condemned the recent closure of the children’s heart unit.

Her daughter Zoe, had to undergo nine hours open surgery to correct heart defects. The seven-year-old still has check ups at the hospital.

All operations in Leeds stopped after it was suggested NHS figures showed the unit to have a death rate double that of other centres.

But medics questioned the accuracy of the data used, and parents criticised the timing of the suspension, just 24 hours after a High Court judge ruled that the process to close Leeds as part of a national reorganisation was flawed.

Mrs Payne, 35, said: “The closure of Leeds left some very, very worried parents, and anxiety prevailed despite the eventual news that the unit would open again this week.

“If the data used to effect the closure was unverified that’s just not acceptable. We need to see the facts and figures, and if there are other concerns about Leeds we want to know them, to make balanced judgments.”

Mrs Payne said campaigners have only experience ‘superb care’ and want what’s best for their children.

“We would support any consultation that resulted in better outcomes. But we cannot see, and have still not been told, what these would be if Leeds closed,” she added.

Zoe has 22q syndrome and is a constant hospital visitor. She has had ear, nose and throat surgery twice at Leeds, because of the need for her cardiac condition to be constantly monitored.

“There was only one type of operation for Zoe’s defects and she had to have it fast,” added Mrs Payne.

“She was not expected to live long and has done so much better than her original prognosis. Leeds surgeons were always happy for us to seek second opinions.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England said assurances had been given by independent assessors that safety concerns had been addressed and that the unit could recommence surgery.