You may have noticed the little widget to the right. Some of you will have seen my links on Facebook and I apologise for repeating myself but this is a cause that really affects me and many people I know.
They are talking about shutting children's cardiac surgery in Leeds. You may remember that there were a high number of deaths during children's heart surgery at another hospital and this prompted a review. The result of this review is that the government will shut some of the 11 children's heart centres in the UK and make less larger centres with all the expertise in this area. Not a bad idea until you consider the impact...
There are 4 million people living within an hour of Leeds, 14 million within 2 hours. When 1 in 100 babies is born with some sort of heart defect, that's a lot of people...and Leeds is currently closing in 3 of the government's 4 alternative plans. Wherever these units shut it is going to affect people - heart patients, relatives, friends - but a quarter of the population? I am failing to see sense.
I have had a child in hopsital. Some of you may remember how ill Emily was as a toddler and she had to have lung surgery. A horrible time for us and the people around us, but what if we'd had to drive hours to see her? That is what these parents and families are facing.
And then today I got an email from my cardiac nurse saying that the government had refused to take into account those of us that are adults but see the paediatric cardiac teams due to our conditions being congenital (both my cardiologist and surgeon are paediatric, I look very silly in their waiting room!) when considering shutting these units. However, if the children's surgery ward goes then so do the surgeons, the cardiologists and the lifeline to people like me. In October 2008 I had an emergency operation in Leeds within 2 hours of them diagnosing my problem, if I'd have had to be transferred to another hospital, well....
So if you could click to the right and sign the petition? Whether we can change the government's mind I don't know, but I need to say I at least tried.