Future of Glenfield children’s heart unit a ‘life or death’ matter, argue MPs

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The future of closure-threatened Glenfield Hospital’s children’s heart unit is a “life or death” matter, according to MPs in the region.

In a passionate debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, October 19, Labour MPs Liz Kendall and Gloria De Piero spoke of how the closure of the centre would affect patients across the country, including in their constituencies of Leicester West and Ashfield.

Parents in Lincolnshire, who currently have to travel 50 miles to the Leicester based hospital unit, may have to go further afield to get needed treatment for their children if the centre closed.

The heart unit is one of three in the country facing closure by NHS England due to failing to meet targets.


Felicity Buckley would have died if it wasn’t for urgent surgery at Glenfield Hospital.

Lincoln mum Karla Fox’s daughter Felicity Buckley was born on Christmas Day last year with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means she was born with only half a heart and needed urgent medical attention.

Karla says that without the facilities at Glenfield Hospital, her daughter would not be here today.

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero speaking during the debate on the future of Glenfield's children's heart unit. Photo: Parliament TV

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero speaking during the debate on the future of Glenfield’s children’s heart unit. Photo: Parliament TV

Gloria De Piero said: “Keeping Glenfield open is a literally a matter of life or death for so many children.”

Liz Kendall added: “The future of Glenfield Hospital’s Children Heart Surgery Unit is a hugely important issue not only for my constituents and patients in the East Midlands but across the country as Glenfield is currently servicing patients at 296 parliamentary constituencies.

“34,000 people have signed an online petition to save the unit and I understand many thousands more have signed the paper petition too.

MP Liz Kendall

Liz Kendall speaking during the debate on the future of the centre. Photo: Parliament TV

“NHS England’s own standards rightly state that they must be able to reserve the right not to commission services from a provider that is so significantly at variance from their own standards as to cause safety or quality concerns.

“There is no evidence that Glenfield is at significant variance from the standards, in fact it is the opposite.

“It makes no sense to close a centre that is already achieving precisely the good outcomes NHS England want to see.

“If this proposal goes ahead the East Midlands will be the only region which doesn’t have a children’s heart unit.”


Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Health. Photo: Parliament TV

Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne, said: “We must reiterate that no final decisions have been made and we do need to wait and see what comes through the next stage of the process and I’m sure those petitioners will make those views known.

“This is not about cutting costs, it is about ensuring we have a robust sustainable pattern of expertise in a slightly smaller number of hospitals.

“Where we get to in deciding which hospitals should provide that service will come through the consultation that will take place and the intent will be to do a three-month consultation process.”

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