Petition to save Glenfield Hospital’s heart unit reaches more than 60,000 signatures

By Beth Mosettig

A protest to save the children’s heart surgery unit at City’s Glenfield Hospital is taking place in Jubilee Square this weekend.

The march and petition to save the heart surgery unit has had overwhelming support, receiving more than 60,000 signatures on both paper and digital versions.

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(Credit Steve Score) Protesters at a previous march to save the the centre on Belgrave Road

Steve Score, 58, organised the protest as the unit’s possible closure is an issue close to his heart.

He said: “My son had open heart surgery last year at Glenfield and he had fantastic support from the hospital, he has met amazing people and it would be a tragedy if children didn’t have the same access to that care.”

The hospital provides surgery and check-ups for children all over the East Midlands who will have to travel much further if the unit closes.

NHS England have denied the closure of the unit is to do with the government announcing that there is to be £22 billion worth of cuts to NHS services.

They defended the closure of the unit, saying that heart surgeons have to do a minimum of 125 operations to keep their level of skill up to scratch.

Glenfield’s unit has three heart surgeons who have to perform 375 surgeries every year and they are not reaching that target.

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(Credit Steve Score) previous march to save the centre earlier this month

Mr Score said: “Last year my son was number 332 and the need for children’s heart surgery is increasing, so if NHS England had a little patience they would reach their target easily.”

Many residents are worried that the closure will have a knock on effect for other services.

Glenfield is also the only hospital in the country to have an Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) centre for adults, paediatrics, and neonatal services.

Jillian Humphrey, 43, said: “From a personal perspective I know that my daughter will need at least one more open heart surgery. She has trauma issues relating to her hospital admissions and surgeries.

“By forcing her to go to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar staff her issues are likely to be exacerbated leading to more trauma.

“As well as if I have to travel with her to Birmingham or London it will leave me isolated in an unfamiliar place with no support.”

Protesters are meeting at Victoria Park car park at 11am on Saturday, October 29 to march towards Jubilee Square for the rally at 1pm.

The petition to save Glenfield hospital’s children’s heart unit is available to sign online: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/160455

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