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Royal visit for new children's unit

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex was in the region today to officially open a new unit at the Leeds Children's Hospital. The paediatric intensive care unit opened during the summer, replacing two smaller units at a cost of almost two million pounds.

The Countess met staff and former patients, as part of her role as Patron of the Children's Hospital. Among them was Dr Mike Richards.

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Children's heart surgeon suspended from hospital

A children's heart surgeon has been suspended from performing any operations at a unit that is facing closure.

The paediatric surgeon, at Leeds Children's Hospital, has agreed not to carry out any procedures while "aspects of his surgical practice" are assessed.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust said he had been asked to stop operating this week after concerns were raised.

But they denied that it was related to recent allegations that they had resisted sending children to a different children's unit.

A surgeon in our paediatric cardiac team has agreed not to carry out operations until we have completed an assessment of aspects of his surgical practice.

He has been subject to a specific restriction on his practice over a period of time and we review the position on a regular basis.

This professional review is being carried out within the Trust. It is viewed as best practice and is part of running a safe service.

It is not related to claims currently being made about alleged unwillingness to refer from Leeds to other children's heart centres.

– Spokesman, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

Heart unit campaign

There has been a knock to the campaign to save the Children's Heart Unit in Leeds. Major consultations that led to proposals to close the children's heart surgery unit at London's Royal Brompton Hospital were ruled lawful by the Court of Appeal today.

It had been thought if the hospital had successfully appealed the consultations, then other units, like the one in Leeds, would have be reviewed again.