Save Our Surgery says it welcomes the decision by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to halt the planned closure of children’s heart surgery units, including the Leeds unit, pending review by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).
However, it is also calling for the Health Secretary to ensure that the independent review looks into the original process and scoring system used with sufficient scrutiny rather than simply repeating the original assessment process, which raised significant concerns.
The IRP review, announced by the Health Secretary in Parliament yesterday, has been sparked by outcry around the decision from MPs, local government and members of the public across the country, and comes following formal complaints from local authorities in Leicester and Lincolnshire.
While we are delighted that the Government has finally listened to the concerns of patients, MPs and local councillors and stepped in to halt the planned closures, our fear is that the IRP will simply repeat the same flawed process as originally used.
Instead, we would sincerely ask that the Panel take a thorough and deep look at the decision-making approach and scoring behind it, as well as asking questions about why more data has not been provided by the JCPCT to allow other concerned scrutiny teams to lodge their own appeals.
We are confident that if the IRP thoroughly investigates the way the original review was approached, how hospitals were scored, and how that scoring was used, it will understand why this process has sparked such widespread concern.”