Children’s cardiac surgery in Leeds to resume – local MP comments

5 April 2013


The Children’s cardiac surgery in Leeds now likely to resume surgery next week.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said work would be done over the weekend to give “sufficient assurance” the unit is safe to reopen, early next week.

The NHS medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, had previously ordered the suspension on 28 March 2013.The decision was based on preliminary data by Sir Roger Boyle, former Government heart czar and director of the National Institute for Clinical Outcomes Research, which suggested Leeds’ mortality rate was twice the national average.

The decision to halt surgery came within 24 hours following the High Court quashing a plan to close the Leeds unit.



Sharon Cheng of Save Our Surgery, said:

Save Our Surgery welcomes the announcement that the various parties involved hope to resume children’s cardiac surgery at the Leeds General Infirmary early next week. The last week’s investigations and discussions have indicated that standards at the unit are safe – we now wait for the final independent assurance so that we can move ahead.

We are asking that surgery be resumed as early as possible next week so that patients and families, who have been so worried through this suspension period, can be reassured that the unit is operating safely, and that planned treatments will be able to proceed. Many children are reliant on the Leeds unit for urgent or on-going treatment, so the sooner normal service can be resumed, the better.


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Andrew Jones MP said:

I welcome the news today that children’s heart surgery can resume in Leeds next week.

The decision was taken after Thursday’s “Risk Summit” attended by the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and the Trust Development Authority.

andrewjonesThe Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said work would be done to give “sufficient assurance” the unit is safe to reopen.

At the meeting between local MPs, campaigners and the Trust earlier this week, the Medical Director of the Trust said he had reviewed all the data and was sure Unit was very safe and gave a high quality service.

The uncertainty of the past week has been damaging for the Children’s Heart Unit and the teams who work there, but most importantly really worrying for the parents and families of the children needing surgery and care.

It is clearly right in the light of the Mid Staffs scandal to take seriously concerns about safety within our NHS, but actions must be taken on accurate information.

Senior NHS managers used data to justify the suspension of surgery which was immediately challenged by the doctors responsible for that data. The doctors challenged the use of the data on the basis that it was neither complete nor credible to use it to stand up a case for suspension on safety grounds. This begs the question why immediate verification checks were not carried out before the NHS acted to suspend surgery at the Unit.

The whole review process into the reorganisation of children’s heart surgery across the country has been weakened too. The suspension of surgery at the Unit came within 24 hours of a High Court ruling that the challenge to the NHS’s decision to close the Unit permanently had been successful.

Many believe this has to be more than merely coincidence. We need an investigation into the process of the suspension of surgery as it looks very fishy that concerns about safety were raised within 24 hours of the High Court ruling, having not been raised before.

The past week must have been very worrying for families, and some families have had surgery relocated to other parts of the country, which must have added to the stress.

I want to see safe secure surgery at Leeds and the reopening of the unit is positive news.


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