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7 March 2013, 13:17
Campaigners trying to stop the closure of the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary have won a High Court challenge.
Save Our Surgery (SOS) argued the consultation process leading up to the changes was “unfair and procedurally flawed”, the high court judge agreed.
SOS represents a large number of residents in the Leeds area who want a new consultations.
Nearly 600,000 people signed a petition against the closure.
Children in the area will have to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for surgery is they close the Leeds unit.
An SOS statement said: "This judgment is in itself a victory for the people who fought to keep children's heart surgery services in Yorkshire, and to challenge what they knew to be a flawed and unjust process."
SOS spokeswoman Sharon Cheng said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London the ruling did not necessarily mean the Leeds heart unit was saved.
One possibility is that the judge will order fresh consultations, which could throw plans for the reorganisation of children's heart surgery around the country into delay and disarray.
The sites currently chosen to stay open are at Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton and two London centres. Facing closure are the Leeds site and units at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital and London's Royal Brompton. The Brompton lost an earlier legal challenge to the proposals.