Plans to close a children’s heart surgery unit must be looked at by MPs, a charity has urged.
A consultation has left the unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea, west London, facing closure, which it is claimed would put the whole hospital at risk.
The Royal Brompton and Harefield Foundation Trust was last week granted permission to challenge the plan in the High Court.
Today The Brompton Fountain, a charity that supports relatives of former and current patients, called on the Health Select Committee to probe the closure plans.
Supporters argue that the Royal Brompton is internationally recognised for the high standard of care that it provides and that the plan puts children’s lives at risk.
The unit has come under threat as part of a national review of children’s cardiac services.
Dr Geoff Baldwin, deputy chairman of The Brompton Fountain, said: “The decision to axe children’s heart surgery at Royal Brompton has been governed by geography rather than medical need and clinical excellence.
“It defies logic that a review designed to improve standards of children’s health care in the UK, could result in the closure of a recognised world-class centre of excellence and the UK’s only specialist heart and lung centre.
“Such a move is unsustainable on the grounds of clinical and medical evidence. This is particularly highlighted by the fact that closing children’s heart surgery at Royal Brompton will result in the two remaining London centres having to undertake more than the safe threshold of cases defined in the review.
“There is a straightforward solution. There is a clear-cut case for retaining all three centres for child heart surgery in London, particularly as closures in other parts of the country and demographic changes in London and the South East will result in increased demand for such services.”
The charity is supported by thousands of people including London mayor Boris Johnson and local MP Greg Hands.