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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Parents to challenge A&E closure
Rochdale Infirmary
The unit at Rochdale will be replaced with a "care centre"
The parents of a severely disabled boy have gone to the High Court to seek permission to challenge the closure of their local hospital's A&E department.

David and Lisa-Louise Fitton's son Jordan-Lee, from Smallbridge, Rochdale, suffers convulsions and needs urgent treatment when attacks occur.

When the seven-year-old fails to respond to drugs he has to be rushed to Rochdale Infirmary's A&E department.

The proposed change would mean a 25-minute journey, his parents say.

Under current plans for health services in the north-east Manchester area, it is proposed to downgrade the A&E unit in Rochdale to an urgent care centre.

Rochdale A&E is Jordan-Lee's lifeline - we are playing with his life
David Fitton, father

Mr and Mrs Fitton say the proposed change will mean the nearest A&E is in Oldham.

Prior to the hearing Mr Fitton, 42, described how integral the proximity of the hospital's emergency department was to his son's existence.

"Rochdale A&E is Jordan-Lee's lifeline," he said. "We are playing with his life."

In court, Matt Kelly QC asked Mr Justice Bennett to allow the family to seek judicial review on the grounds that local health service chiefs had carried out a legally-flawed public consultation exercise.

Life or death

Mr Kelly said health bosses had also failed to provide an option of "no change" for Rochdale Infirmary in the consultation process.

Jordan-Lee was born with global development delay, which prevents him from walking or talking.

His brother, Dion, died aged five from the same condition.

Mr Kelly told the court that the youngster, who uses a wheelchair, suffers regular seizures, "some of which can be of substantial duration and need".

"If not brought under control within five minutes, immediate access to an A&E department is needed, otherwise his life is then in danger," he added.

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24 Mar 04 |  Manchester

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