Children's heart unit decision

A decision is expected over the future of the children's heart unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Live updates

  1. National

Government ruling could see e-cigarettes off shelves

E-cigarettes are thought to be safer than normal cigarettes because they dispense nicotine without using tobacco. Credit: Reuters

Electronic cigarettes could be taken off British shelves depending on a government decision on the future regulation of the product.

There is currently no age limit on the devices or limits on their advertising or availability.

If the government decides that e-cigarettes need more medical assessments, they could be banned altogether while the health implications are investigated.

  1. Tyne Tees

Health Secretary: The IRP "strongly agrees with case for change"

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says local health scrutiny committees in the areas affected by the closures expressed concerns about the review process and the matter was referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).

"(The IRP) strongly agrees with the case for change. However, the report also concludes that the outcome of the Safe and Sustainable Review was based on a flawed analysis of the impact of incomplete proposals and leaves too may questions about sustainability and implementation.

"This is clearly a serious criticism of the safe and sustainable process.

"I therefore accept their recommendation that the proposals cannot go ahead in their current form and am suspending the review today."

– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt


  1. Tyne Tees

Health Secretary halts heart unit closures

Plans to close three children's heart surgery units were today suspended by the Health Secretary.

Jeremy Hunt says plans to close units in Leeds, Leicester and west London were to be put on hold after an independent review suggested the consultation process was based on "flawed analysis".

The Safe and Sustainable Review, which concluded that Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and Royal Brompton in west London should stop providing paediatric cardiac surgery, has been heavily criticised and campaigners have fought ferociously against closure of the units.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hunt said he had asked NHS England to continue with the process of looking into the reorganisation of children's heart surgery and asked them to report back by the end of July.

  1. Tyne Tees

Announcement from Health Secretary - updates from our Political Correspondent Paul Brand

"Report concludes outcome of safe and sustainable review was based on flawed analysis... and leaves too many questions.

"I accept their recommendation that their proposals cannot go ahead in current form and am suspending the changes.

"I've asked NHS England to report back to me by July on how they decide to proceed.

"We cannot stick with model of care we have now... to do so would be a betrayal of those who lost loved ones in Bristol"

– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
  1. Tyne Tees

Prime Minister: "We need to make a re-start"

Before the Health Secretary Jeremy Mr Hunt made his announcement, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

"I think we have to be frank with people that we can't expect really technical surgery - like children's heart operations, to be carried out at every hospital in the country.

"As the parent of a desperately ill child, wanting to get the best care for that child, you need to know that you're getting something that is world best.

"For really technical operations you can't get that everywhere.

"Clearly the conclusion is that this process, which started in 2008, hasn't been carried out properly so we need to make a re-start."

– Prime Minister David Cameron


  1. Tyne Tees

ITV Political Correspondent Paul Brand on the children's heart unit decision:

"Sources suggesting that Jeremy Hunt will order a new review into child heart surgery, saving Leeds unit for now, but prolonging the uncertainty."

"Sources tell me that the review will need to be completed within a year and all ten child heart units will be re-examined."

"if there is indeed a new heart surgery review, that would mean the NHS/govt has effectively wasted £6m on the last one and court battles."

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