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NHS England: 'immediate safety concerns' at Leeds heart op unit addressed

NHS England has released a statement saying 'immediate safety concerns' at the Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Unit have been addressed.

Following completion of the first stage of the review by an independent clinical team, into paediatric heart surgery in Leeds, NHS England has been given assurances, that the immediate safety concerns raised two weeks ago have been addressed and the unit recommenced surgery on a phased basis earlier this week.

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It is the duty of NHS England first and foremost to protect patients, hence we paused surgery at the unit to allow a review of the data and other concerns raised to take place. I and NHS England cannot allow undue risks when it comes to the safety of children.

NHS England originally raised concerns about Leeds General Infirmary because of preliminary data suggesting high mortality, concerns about staffing levels, whistleblowing information from clinicians, and complaints from patients.

A second stage of the review is underway in which we now need to explore some of the wider issues around how the unit operates as a whole. I hope we will soon be able to give the unit a full clean bill of health beyond this immediate reassurance of safety.

Throughout this process our sole concern has been the safety of patients this is why we paused surgery and after assurances why we allowed surgery to re-start.”

– Mike Bewick, Deputy Medical Director of NHS England

Calls for Boyle to step down from surgery review post

Local MPs in Leeds have called for Sir Roger Boyle to leave his role on the children's heart surgery review:

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Leeds MP: Sir Roger Boyle's comments are 'outrageous'

Local Conservative MP for Pudsey, Horsforth & Aireborough Stuart Andrew has called comments by Sir Roger Boyle, 'outrageous' after the Department of Health's former National Director for Heart Disease said he would not allow his own daughter to be treated at Leeds General Infirmary:

Have asked for Sir Bruce Keogh to reconfirm his view that surgery in Leeds is safe. The comments by Sir Roger are totally unfair on parents and staff.

Am astounded that he [Sir Roger Boyle] continues to rely on unverified data. Outrageous.

'Boyle speaking without regard for patients & families'

Sharon Cheng, of Save Our Surgery (SOS), which campaigned for surgery to be resumed at Leeds, said:

Sir Roger Boyle's comments of this morning are extremely unhelpful and undermine the progress made over the last few days to begin to rebuild heart patients' families' trust and confidence in the Leeds children's heart surgery unit.

His implication that surgery should not have been resumed at Leeds contradicts everything we have heard from NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and NHS medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, who have all stated unequivocally that the unit is safe, hence their resumption of surgery.

Sir Bruce himself went on record this week saying he would feel comfortable having his child operated on in the unit.

Let me be absolutely clear - the Leeds unit would not be operating if there were any concerns whatsoever about mortality rates or anything else.

Once again, this is an example of Sir Roger Boyle speaking out without due regard to the necessary process, the verified facts or the implications of his actions on patients and their families.

He is not an impartial party in regards to Leeds and as an adviser to the Safe and Sustainable review, we do question his motives.

Leeds defends heart unit: 'Surgery in Leeds is safe'

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has defended the re-opening of a children's heart unit after Sir Roger Boyle the Department of Health's former National Director for Heart Disease said he would not send his daughter to the unit.

On Monday we announced that we were reopening the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

All partners were fully in agreement that this was the correct course of action to take and surgery has now resumed.

This was publicly reconfirmed at a meeting of councillors held in Leeds on Wednesday when the deputy medical director of NHS England reaffirmed the view that all the child heart surgery units in England, including Leeds, are safe to undertake surgery.

– Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust spokesperson

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Leeds children’s heart surgery to resume Wednesday

Children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary will begin again on Wednesday, April 10.

We stated on Friday that we wished to restart surgery once our partners were as confident in our staff and services as we are.

I am delighted to say we are now reopening the unit having had the quality of our service independently verified by the Care Quality Commission, NHS England and the NHS TrustDevelopment Authority following a rapid review process which took place overthe weekend.

– Maggie Boyle, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
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Heart campaigner: Safety assurances a 'tick box exercise'

Campaigners who have been fighting to save the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary say they believe surgery will start again next week.

The NHS bodies that have been in talks since surgery was suspended last Thursday have released a statement saying: "Agreement was reached to work together to restart surgery on the site early next week subject to independent assurance of concerns raised."

But Sharon Cheng from the campaign group Save our Surgery says she believes the "independent assurance" is a "tick box exercise."

Staff at Leeds heart unit 'deserve a medal'

A mother from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has said she is "absolutely thrilled" that the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary is set to reopen.

Jo Lancaster, whose six year old son Toby has undergone two operations on his heart at the unit, said she has never had any doubts about its safety.

It's such a relief that it's reopened. We were never in any doubt that Leeds was safe. I just hope it has not tarnished the reputation of the unit.

The whole team are absolutely fantastic. They all deserve a medal.

I would have that surgery in Leeds tomorrow. I would have had it there last weekend if he had needed it then

I wouldn't feel safe taking him anywhere else.

– Jo Lancaster

MPs react to 'great news' of Leeds heart unit

Several MPs based in the Leeds area have welcomed the news that the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary is set to reopen.

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