Fight for kids’ heart care

Sir,

Many of your readers will have seen the proposals to change the way that children’s heart surgery is being delivered nationwide.

If Leeds General Infirmary is not chosen as a specialist centre, local children with serious congenital heart problems may be referred for treatment to other hospitals in the north and midlands.

Rotherham Borough Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee is being consulted as part of the statutory process. Because the proposals affect communities across Yorkshire and the Humber, councils in the region have formed a joint health scrutiny committee to look at the options and hear arguments for and against. I am Rotherham’s Borough Council’s representative on this committee.

We have spoken to some local parents of children with congenital heart problems who have told us about their experiences of services and how the proposals may affect them and other families.

On the basis of the evidence received, including the comments and questions from Rotherham parents, the committee will make a formal response to the review later in the summer. I, and the other councillors looking at this issue, will try our utmost to get the best services for these very vulnerable children and their families.

You can respond online to proposals outlined in the Safe and Sustainable review: www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/safe andsustainable or by writing to: Freepost RSLT-SRLZ-JYYY, Safe and Sustainable, Ipsos MORI, Research Services House, Elmgrove Road, Harrow, HA1 2QG

The public consultation closes on July 1, 2011. If you have any other comments about the proposals, please email me at scrutiny.works@rotherham.gov.uk and mark your email “Children’s Heart Surgery”.

Shaukat Ali,

Rotherham Borough Council