Mum devastated after heart unit axed

Bridlington Mum Kelly Nalton with Baby Laiela  ,hoping for a brighter future for Laiela    picture Richard Ponter  111578b'15/04/11
Bridlington Mum Kelly Nalton with Baby Laiela ,hoping for a brighter future for Laiela picture Richard Ponter 111578b'15/04/11

A BRIDLINGTON mother has spoken of her devastation at the decision to close the town’s nearest heart unit where her little girl has undergone life-saving surgery.

Kelly Nalton’s two-year-old daughter Laiela was saved by surgeons at the cardiac surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary after being born with a hole in her heart and suffering bronchiolitis.

Now Kelly has reacted angrily to the decision by health bosses, made last night, to axe the unit at Leeds meaning she now faces a journey of almost three hours to Newcastle when her little girl has to undergo further life-saving heart surgery in the coming years.

And Laiela has been receiving regular check ups from a consultant from the Leeds unit who would visit Scarborough Hospital - a service which is now in doubt, much to Kelly’s despair.

“I feel sick, I just can’t believe they would put kid’s lives at risk,” said Kelly who has four other children, between the ages of five to 13.

“Are they going to pay our fuel expenses to travel back and for to Newcastle? Are they going to inform schools that siblings will need to take time off to travel to visit their sick family members?,” she added.

NHS officials have described the decision to cut the number of heart surgery units from 10 to seven as a “landmark” which would improve the quality of care.

Opponents to the decision have vowed to refer the decision to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and Kelly has called on people in the Bridlington area to immediately contact MP Greg Knight to call on his support to overturn this decision.

•For the full story and further reaction to the decision see next Thursday’s Free Press.