Hopes hospital unit will be saved from closure

HOPES have been raised that a specialist hospital unit which saved the lives of two Hucknall children may yet be saved.

An independent panel will review the government’s decision to close the unit at Glenfield Hospital at Leicester, which treats youngsters across the East Midlands.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Keeling, of Suffolk Avenue, Hucknall, underwent pioneering keyhole surgery at the unit three years ago to repair a defective pulmonary heart valve.

And eight-year-old Natalia Kram, of Ogle Street, Hucknall underwent life-saving open heart surgery at the unit when she was only seven months old.

The government wants to move the Glenfield unit to Birmingham after a National Health Service (NHS) review decided that such services were being spread too thinly in different parts of the country.

After a campaign by the Keep the Beat charity, MPs have condemned the review and called for a re-think.

Health Minister Simon Burns said the concerns expressed would be referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, an expert body which focuses on NHS service changes.

Mr Burns said he was well aware that the reorganisation of children’s cardiac services caused ‘real concern’ for the families involved.

But he added: “As passionately as people want to defend their own hospitals, it is far more important to ensure the safety and the quality of care for all children with congenital heart disease.”