Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Child heart ops to stay suspended

Operations will continue to be suspended while talks take place over child heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary
Operations will continue to be suspended while talks take place over child heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary

Talks over the future of a children's heart surgery unit at a Leeds hospital have ended for the day without any agreement being reached.

It had been reported that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was to restart congenital heart operations but this was not confirmed.

All operations at the unit at Leeds General Infirmary had been halted on Thursday after NHS figures suggested the unit had a death rate double that of other centres.

A number of parties met on Tuesday morning to discuss the situation, including the trust, NHS England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the National Trust Development Authority.

But after reports had said an agreement had been reached, head of media relations at NHS England, Roger Davidson, tweeted: "There is no change to situation re children's heart surgery in Leeds. There is still a pause in place and the review continues."

This was then followed up by an official statement from the body confirming that the situation had not changed.

An NHS England spokesman said: "There is no change to the situation with regard to paediatric cardiac surgery at Leeds General Infirmary. The suspension remains in place and the review continues."

Leeds Teaching Trust NHS also confirmed that the suspension would remain in place and that no statement would be made on Tuesday night about the talks. A trust spokesman said: "There will be no statement issued this evening by Leeds Teaching Hospitals about the talks involving NHS England, the CQC, and the NHS Development Authority."

Campaigners had criticised the suspension of surgery and its timing, which came 24 hours after a High Court judge ruled the decision-making process to close the children's unit was "legally flawed". But Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of NHS England, had said the figures were among a "constellation of reasons" the decision was made.

MP Hilary Benn tweeted: " Finally we have confirmation - nothing has changed. Operations still suspended for now. This is no way to treat worried and confused parents."

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