Dear all,

I was away on July 8th when the news broke regarding the designation of the Leeds Heart Unit and I want to explain what the decision means to me personally and to all the staff here at CHSF.

The Save Our Surgery (SOS) Campaign has made a fundamental difference to people’s lives both now and in the future.

The overall aim was to secure the care for generations to come, and as we now know the Leeds Heart Unit will be a designated Surgical Centre, it appears we have succeeded.

The broad range of support for the SOS Campaign was quite unprecedented and thank you, just doesn’t seem enough. A tribute to the people who helped us secure success seems more fitting:

  • CHSF’s amazing PR Company and our phenomenal Public Affairs team! They helped us manage the media; gave fantastic advice and organised many worthwhile meetings at Westminster.
  • The support from MPs of all parties was incredible, and together they showed their constituents how serious they took their worries and concerns. Regional Councillors, in particular, the JHOSC committee – John Illingworth and Steven Courtney were nothing but exceptional.
  • Lawyers both in Leeds and London for quite often working on the case pro-bono.
  • The work of the Directors of Save our Surgery Limited, not to mention the board of CHSF. Here’s also to Angela Casey, as without her the office would have floundered.
  • Clinicians both past and present that spoke up while under immense pressure. They attended road evening and weekend campaign meetings – often forsaking time with their families.
  • The Independent Reconfiguration Panel who saw in our favour following overwhelming evidence from all sides.
  • The Leeds Teaching Hospital Comms team and the former senior management of LTHT.

My final and overwhelming tribute is to our families in Yorkshire, and beyond.

I will NEVER forget our parent campaigners ringing out their messages in all the regions we support, seeing parents on TV and in the press and feeling so proud of them; the families who gathered 600,000 signatures for our petition and attended our peaceful demonstration; the extraordinary families and businesses who helped raise £240k in 4 months for a court case that set a legal precedent in case law history; to our dignified parents who stayed loyal and strong throughout the unit‘s closure and the patience and resilience people showed through the long awaited IRP investigation and the Veritas report.

Throughout all this, you stuck by us, and you remained overwhelmingly committed. You continued to believe in your Heart Unit despite the negativity that was coming from the national media. Your support never waned, and for this, we salute you. Thank you to one and all!

Yours faithfully,

Sharon Coyle, CEO