We had a busy week last week. We were invited to meet the joint Chairs of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees from the East Midlands. The meeting was informal and we were offered the chance to update the Chairs on the campaign, with particular focus on the communication between ourselves and NHS England during the pre-consultation phase, and our progress in meeting the standards. The role of the Overview and Scrutiny committees is to ensure that any changes to health provision within the East Midlands are appropriately communicated and consulted, and any outcome is appropriate. It is therefore very important that we keep them fully briefed on our campaign. In order to provide this we have saved all communication in a timeline on the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre website; this material can be viewed at: http://www.eastmidlandscongenitalheart.nhs.uk/our-campaign/

We have also been invited to attend formal Overview and Scrutiny meetings in Derby in January and in Lincoln this week. The Lincoln meeting is also being attended by Will Huxter from NHS England. We have been invited as witnesses to this meeting, but will be available to answer any questions directed to us by the committee if required.

We continue to receive great support from Leicester City Council and this week Cllr Rory Palmer announced that:  

  • the Leicester Scrutiny process will be organised to sync with the formal consultation process.  He has set aside a budget of £50,000 should it be needed as the council’s contribution to potential legal challenge costs or commissioning of any specialised work to support consultation responses;
  • when the consultation starts there will be lots of council-led communications activity including web, social media and other channels;
  • there will be a robust response to the consultation  submitted by Cllr Palmer;
  • the Council will again fund road closure/ traffic management costs for the protest and rally planned for February 2017 (as they did for the last one);
  • the ‘giant’ image from our campaign continues to be projected onto the Ramada Encore in central Leicester.

On Thursday evening we had a superb turnout at our stakeholder meeting. We updated those present with current progress in the campaign and discussed the key issues in detail. We also discussed the most effective way of mobilising the different stakeholder groups during the public consultation process. We have not yet had confirmation of the details surrounding the consultation, but will of course share details of both the consultation meetings and the questions as soon as we have them.

We were delighted to welcome the players from the Leicester Tigers and Leicester City Football Club, who gave so much of their time to meet our patients, parents and staff both at the Royal Infirmary and Glenfield. It gives such a boost to everyone involved and both teams showed their support to our campaign as seen in the photos below, but also by sharing their experience on social media. We cannot thank them enough for their continued support.

As we approach the festive break, this will my last briefing until the New Year, so I wanted to take the time to make some special thinks. Firstly, thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last few months in helping us raise the profile of our campaign and petition. It has been heartening hearing all of the stories of the lives we have touch and having those people openly come forward to put their faces to our campaign. I also wanted to especially thank the fantastic FMCHC staff who tirelessly provide the most incredible service to the congenital heart patients of the East Midlands, despite the cloud of uncertainty that surrounds our service.

May I wish your family a Wonderful Christmas and Prosperous New Year.


Although we have exceeded 100,000 signatures, we are not giving up and will continue to get as many signatures as possible. Currently, the online total stands at 42,634 and the offline total is 65,000. As we always ask, if you know of anyone who has yet to sign the petition please share this link with them: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/160455. We will be presenting the combined total to Liz Kendall in the New Year for her to present to try and generate another parliamentary debate.

You can also find out more about what is happening with the campaign and full information on what is happening in 2017 by going to: http://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/aboutus/hold-on-to-our-hearts/