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MPs make case for saving children’s heart surgery unit during Commons debate

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Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero spoke out against plans to close Glenfield Hospital’s children’s heart surgery unit during a Parliamentary debate on the issue last week.

The debate in Westminster Hall saw MPs from across the East Midlands stating why it is so important to them and their constituents to keep the specialist unit open.

Fifty-seven children from Ashfield with congenital heart defects have had treatment at Glenfield in the last three years alone.

Many of these families have already told Gloria how Glenfield’s doctors have saved the lives of their children and how worried they are about what will happen should the unit be closed.

During the debate Gloria cited the case of four-year-old Kirkby girl, Scarlett North, who was only minutes away from death when she arrived at Glenfield for treatment at six days old.

She said: “Keeping Glenfield open is a matter of life and death for so many children.”

The children’s heart surgery unit currently serves patients from 296 parliamentary constituencies and is on track to carry out the annual number of operations the NHS wants it to perform to prove its sustainability.

Its clinical outcomes are among the best in the country, and its mortality and readmission rates are significantly lower than those of other centres.

Speaking after the debate, Gloria said: “It was encouraging to see so much opposition to NHS England’s plans to close the children’s heart surgery unit at Glenfield.

“This move would put the lives of children in Ashfield and across the East Midlands at risk.

“NHS England says that it is about improving care for heart patients but Glenfield has among the best clinical outcomes in the country.

“We will fight these proposals all the way.”

Health minister Philip Dunne said that there will be a three-month public consultation on the plans to close the unit in the New Year and that decisions will be made next summer.

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