Future Of Leeds Child Heart Ops

3 April 2013, 11:42

A major meeting is being held to decide if it is safe for children’s heart surgery to resume in Leeds.

A summit between health and hospital bosses and the local authority is being held to discuss the future of a children's heart surgery unit in Leeds.

A group representing 15 councils in Yorkshire and Humberside has called for a speedy resolution to talks about restarting children's heart surgery in the city.

The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Yorkshire and the Humber has said it is imperative that the paediatric heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary resumes operations "as quickly as possible''.

Surgery at the unit was halted last Thursday after NHS figures, which have since been criticised as flawed, suggested an abnormally high death rate.

Sources said they believed a decision was close to being reached.

Chairman of the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) for Yorkshire and the Humber, Councillor John Illingworth, said on Wednesday: "At this summit we are hopeful that the issues which resulted in the temporary closure will be fully addressed and that these critically important services will be immediately restored.

"Our prime concern throughout this process has been the welfare of the children concerned and limiting the anxiety of their parents and families, and we hope the restoration of services in Leeds will remove the current uncertainty and provide some comfort to them at this exceptionally difficult time.''

Toby is the dad of a 2 week old baby boy from Leeds who has been directly affected by the suspension of heart surgery in the city. His little boy developed a critical heart problem last week and was rushed to the L.G.I.  He had life saving treatment immediately, but needed an operation as well. That had to be cancelled when surgery was suspended.

Listen to Toby's story here:

Toby's Story


All operations at the unit were suspended just 24 hours after a High Court judge ruled that a decision-making process to close the children's unit as part of an England-wide reorganisation of services was ``legally flawed''.

Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of NHS England, said figures suggested mortality rates were twice that of other centres and were among a "constellation of reasons'' behind the decision.

However, medical bodies, doctors and other experts have questioned the accuracy of the data, which they say was unverified and not fit to base such a decision on.

Stuart Andrew MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough, said he remained "hopeful'' the unit would be allowed to restart surgery.

"After that I think we need to start asking questions about how this issue has been handled.'' 

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