Dearne parents’ relief at heart unit decision

A stethoscope.
A stethoscope.

Dearne campaigners have welcomed news that children’s heart surgery is set to resume at Leeds General Infirmary, after days of confusion.

It was decided to re-open the unit next week, at a meeting held last night between NHS bosses, the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and other parties involved in the negotiations.

A spokesman for the NHS Trust said: “Following a productive multi-agency meeting to review the decision to suspend children’s cardiac surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, agreement was reached to work together to restart surgery on the site early next week, subject to independent assurance of concerns raised.”

Staff and users of the Leeds unit were stunned when operations at Leeds ceased a week ago, due to queries over the death rate, that was said by the NHS to be double that of other centres.

But the accuracy of the data used has been questioned by medical bodies.

Maggie Boyle, chief executive of the NHS Trust said following the meeting: “I am extremely confident that this service is safe and effective and should recommence at the earliest opportunity.”

The unit’s suspension came just a day after a High Court judge ruled that the process used in assessing heart units leading to a national reorganisation was ‘legally flawed’.

Rawmarsh mum Kerry Uttley, whose daughter Carenza was born with severe heart defects and was saved by Leeds surgeons said: “All the parents I speak to regularly, whose children are treated at Leeds, are disgusted at this recent closure and feel it should never have happened.

“We are so relieved the decision has been turned around and it is to re-open, although we feel that should be taking place immediately.”
She continued: “The emphasis has shifted from all the tremendous work that goes on at Leeds. If the heart unit closes, then lives will be lost.”