STRUCTURE: Campaigners have won a high court challenge over the decision to remove children’s heart surgery services from Leeds.

Save Our Surgery (SOS) welcomed the ruling that found the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) was unlawful in its decision to close the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

It is the latest blow to a long running national programme aiming to centralise the services.

The court will decide what action needs to be taken in coming weeks.

Sharon Cheng, of SOS, said: “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.”

She said the ruling supports the argument that the needs of patients should be one of the most important factors in determining where heart surgery services are located, and service provision must reflect today’s realities, not those of 10 years ago.

Campaigners must now wait to see what the 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 health secretary, which will be completed at the end of March.