Leeds Surgery Halt Forced Patient Transfers

11 April 2013, 12:00 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

10 children, needing life saving surgery at Leeds, were transferred up to 120 miles away for treatment, when operations were suspended.

The youngsters were due to be treated at Leeds General Infirmary's children's heart unit, where operations resumed after being halted at the end of last month.

But they had to be transported to Birmingham, Alder Hey in Liverpool, Newcastle and six of the 10 were taken to Leicester while the unit was closed, it was revealed at a meeting today.

Surgery was suspended after NHS England said it had “serious concerns” that data showed the unit had a death rate double that of other centres.

However, the decision was widely criticised by experts who said the information was incomplete and the unit was given the all-clear to resume surgery last week after it was agreed it was safe.

At a meeting chaired by the Yorkshire and Humberside Joint Health Scrutiny Overview Committee in Leeds, details of the impact on young patients were revealed.

John Illingworth, chairman of the committee; "Distances like that are hard enough when you're in good health," he said, speaking outside the meeting.

He added that the decision to suspend surgery at the unit was "premature" as NHS England "rushed to conclusions" based on raw and potentially misleading data.