City Lib Dems back Freeman child heart unit campaign

June 14, 2011 9:02 PM

Newcastle Lib Dem councillors have tabled a motion to the July meeting of the city council urging support for the campaign to keep open the Freeman's child cardiac unit, and asking the council to write to the Department of Health in support of keeping open the unit and ensuring the decision is made on the basis of clinical outcomes rather than political pressure.

Lib Dem group deputy leader Cllr Anita Lower (Castle ward) will propose the motion and will speak of her experience as a parent - as a heart patient herself, her pregnancy was monitored by the unit and her daughter Ellie was born in the facility. Lib Dem councillors for the ward including the Freeman Hospital will also speak in support.

Cllr Lower said "There is obviously strong support for the centre not only on Tyneside, but across the North East and beyond, as the centre is currently the main facility not just for this region but for many patients from Scotland and Northern Ireland as well. I know from first hand experience as a mother how good a job the centre does, and we think it's important that its work is recognised and valued."

"There is clearly a strong body of opinion in favour of retaining the Newcastle facility, and it is significant that three out of the four options proposed for consultation by the Department of Health include the Freeman. It's also important to note that this proposal has not stemmed from financial cutbacks but an agreed clinical need to achieve a concentration of the highly specialist expertise, rather than spreading the resource too thinly nationally. Nevertheless, we feel that it is very important to support the campaign to keep this facility at the Freeman and we are happy to bring this issue forward for debate in the council chamber."