Children's heart units fight the threat of closure

Legal advice sought to ascertain whether Lansley can be forced into U-turn

The government is facing a summer of discontent from NHS staff and patients as the fight against service closures, wage cuts, pension reforms and treatment restrictions intensifies.

Three children's heart surgery units, which were earmarked for closure after an independent review concluded earlier this month, are preparing to fight "tooth and nail" against the controversial decision.

The Independent has learned that at least two of the units, in Leeds and Leicester, are seeking legal advice to ascertain whether they can force a U-turn. The MP for Pudsey, Stuart Andrews, has secured a pre-adjournment Commons debate for tomorrow and health ministers can expect to be lobbied by MPs of all parties over the summer recess. An elected regional health scrutiny committee, representing 5.5 million people in Yorkshire and Humber, is expected to refer the "fundamentally flawed" decision to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, on the basis that it is not in the best interest of the local population. Mr Lansley has a legal duty to consider the terms of the appeal.

The Safe and Sustainable review, carried out on behalf of the NHS, decided that children's heart surgery in England and Wales would be concentrated at seven centres from 2014 in order to improve the quality and safety of care for patients.

It had been hoped that this model for change would pave the way for clinically driven closures of A&E and maternity units.

NHS cuts will be under debate alongside the long-running restructuring row. In a Commons debate Labour will force a vote today calling on the Prime Minister to honour his pre-election pledge not to cut the NHS budget.

This comes as research suggests the NHS is being destabilised by looming financial crises, with six in 10 hospital trusts reportedly missing their savings targets and the South London Healthcare Trust, London's largest, in the hands of administrators.

The shadow health minister, Andy Burnham, will also point to a 29 per cent increase in delayed hospital discharges since August 2010, costing the NHS £600,000 a day. About 125 treatments and procedures such as IVF and obesity surgery have been restricted or dropped since the election, Labour claims.

The unions will be livid at yesterday's revelation that tens of thousands of doctors and nurses in the south-west could be sacked unless they agree to drastic changes to pay and conditions, in a break from the national agreement. The BMA has already voted for further industrial action if the government refuses to back down on pensions.

Mr Burnham said: "Ministers have lost control of NHS finances and what we are now seeing is an increasingly crude and random approach to reducing costs."

The Department of Health said all service changes must be clinically led, and there was no excuse for delaying treatment unnecessarily.

Suggested Topics
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

    Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

    Early Years Educator

    £68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

    Nursery Nurse

    £69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

    Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam