Anxious wait for families of sick tots

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A FINAL bid to prevent the children’s heart unit that serves South Yorkshire being shut down has been made.

Dearne families are among the thousands who are pinning their final hopes for Ward 10 at Leeds General Infirmary to be kept open, following a Government review that ends early next month.

Doctors and councillors met with MPs and peers to press their case last week, and to hand over a scrutiny report, with their reasons for retaining Leeds.

This followed an earlier announcement that London’s Royal Brompton Hospital has won a High Court bid to seek a judicial review in to the decision to close its own heart unit.

More than 600,000 people signed a petition supporting Ward 10, that is accessible to over 14 million people in less than two hours travel time. For many critically ill tots, travel time has proved to be a vital factor in their survival.

Kerry Uttley of Rawmarsh, whose daughter Carenza, three, was saved by the Leeds unit after being born with two holes in her heart said: “We are really hoping these last few weeks will work in favour of Leeds, and that the deciding committee sees sense. People across such a huge part of the country need Ward 10 and it will be a travesty if it shuts. Without the doctors and care Carenza received there she wouldn’t be alive today”.

Kerry and her husband Mick’s debt of gratitude to Leeds is such that they have raised thousands of pounds towards equipping the unit.

Emma Hawksworth of Wath is another parent anxiously watching developments. Her daughter Amy was born with heart complications and spent her first six weeks at Leeds. A year ago, she underwent seven hours of open heart surgery.

Emma, of Blake Avenue, said: “The surgeon who saved Amy is our God. Lives will be lost if this unit closes”.