- 34 updates
The move to suspend the children's heart surgery unit in Leeds has come under the spotlight again after an expert in health statistics questioned the figures that led to the decision.
Sir Brian Jarman, an expert on mortality data, told the Independent on Sunday that, from his analysis over the last four years, the death rates at Leeds were average.
He said the rates were "a little high" but "not significantly higher than other units".
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu visited the Leeds children's heart unit today to lead prayers with patients and staff.
It comes after surgery was suspended following claims of high death rates, something doctors there say is "inaccurate and misleading."
Staff at the Children's Heart Unit at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle are preparing to take referrals whilst an investigation takes place.
Doctors at the children's heart unit in Leeds have hit back at claims death rates are twice the national average. A consultant in children's cardiology, Elspeth Brown has told ITV News Calendar death rates are comparable to other hospitals. Surgery was suspended at the unit on Thursday.
The Archbishop of York has called on the Health Secretary to intervene over the controversial suspension of the children's heart surgery unit in Leeds.
Dr John Sentamu visited the threatened unit and prayed with parents of poorly children today. It comes after doctors at the unit described claims by senior NHS managers that death rates there are twice the national average as "inaccurate and misleading."
Dr Sentamu said that if the data is wrong then the medical director of NHS England Sir Bruce Keogh has serious questions to answer.
Concerns that two "junior" surgeons were in charge of the children's congenital surgery at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) prompted the decision to suspend operations there, according to Professor Sir Roger Boyle, an NHS adviser involved with the decision.
The hospital, which is at the centre of a row over the future of its children's heart services, is carrying out an internal review after data suggested a death rate twice the national average.
Professor Boyle, director of the National Institute of Clinical Outcomes Research (Nicor) which overseas mortality rates across the NHS, said the figures were among a number of reasons he advised the unit should be suspended. He told BBC Breakfast:
The steering committee for the Central Cardiology Audit Database (CCAD) supplied the data which contributed to Sir Bruce Keogh's decision to stop the Leeds General Infirmary children's congenital heart surgery.
It is clearly a particularly worrying time for parents whose children are currently in the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary, and for those scheduled to receive surgery in the coming weeks.
However they are reassured by the local NHS Trust that their treatment will not be compromised.
This suspension of surgery and internal review are expected to last up to three weeks - it adds more uncertainty to the future of this children's ward. Its long term survival still hangs in the balance.
Latest ITV News reports
The Archbishop of York has spoken out against the controversial decision to suspend a children's congenital heart surgery unit in Leeds.
Questions have been raised over the halting of a heart surgery in a unit in Leeds which had only recently survived closure plans.