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Legal Victory for Leeds campaign in the bid to keep children's heart surgery in the city

News Article, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Article By: Dave Roberts

First Published: 07 March 2013

THE CAMPAIGN GROUP from Leeds that calls itself 'Save Our Surgery' (SOS) has won a major stage in its High Court challenge against the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust (JCPCT)'s decision to remove children's heart surgery services from Leeds.

The ruling, handed down by the judge today, found that the JCPCT's process and decision was flawed.

Sharon Cheng of Save Our Surgery said: "This judgment finally confirms what we have always believed: that the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts' review process and decision to remove children's heart surgery services from Leeds was unlawful. Winning this case in the High Court proves once and for all that the supposed consultation was a rubber stamping exercise conducted with an outcome in mind, with clinicians, MPs and patients fooled into feeling they had influence.

"This action was taken by parents and clinicians who simply could not stand by and watch a clear injustice being done. We are extremely pleased and relieved that the High Court has found in our favour.

"This ruling supports our firm belief that patients' needs should be at the forefront in determining where heart surgery services are located. It also supports our assertion that children's heart surgery service provision must reflect today's realities, not those of ten years ago.

"As the culmination of two years' of worry and campaigning, this will be welcomed by millions of members of the public and clinicians who spoke out to challenge the decision and express grave concerns.

"We will now wait to understand the next steps in terms of what this decision means for the overall Safe and Sustainable Review and its implementation, along with the outcome of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel review requested by the Secretary of State for Health, which will be completed at the end of March. However, this judgment in itself is a victory for the people who fought to keep children's heart surgery services in Yorkshire, and to challenge what they knew to be a flawed and unjust process."

In her judgment, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said: "If there is a public law duty to make information available to a consultee, disclosure cannot be denied simply because one party does not wish to look at that information."

Justice Davies said that a further court hearing will be held on 27 March to determine what the "remedy" would be following her ruling.

The case continues...





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