The Government played no part in the decision to suspend children's heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, peers were told today.
Health minister Earl Howe said the decision was taken by the local health trust in agreement with the Care Quality Commission and NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.
– Lord Howe
The Government strongly believes that it was the right thing to do.
It is absolutely right that the NHS should act quickly and decisively if there is any evidence that patient safety maybe at risk.
But Liberal Democrat Lord Shutt of Greetland warned there had been "murky internal health politicking" going on over the issue of children's heart surgery in Yorkshire.
– Lord Shutt of Greetland
Why is the Government determined to deny the people of Yorkshire a children's heart unit when Yorkshire has a population of 5.3 million - similar to Scotland, Denmark and Finland.
Yorkshire is double the size of the north east of England, where the Government is happy to see that region locally served.
Lord Howe said the premise of Lord Shutt's question was "incorrect", adding:
– Lord Howe
The Government has not taken a role in this matter. This is a matter which
the NHS has led. There's no agenda by the Government at all apart from our
desire to see the best possible children's cardiac services provided in this
Professor Sir Roger Boyle has stepped down as director of the National Institute of Clinical Outcomes Research. He has been at the centre of the row over the future of the Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Unit.
He said that he would not want his daughter to be treated at Leeds. The comments led to him being taken off the review team that is overseeing changes to children's heart surgery.
Mortality rates for all children's heart surgery centres have been released following the temporary suspension of operations at the region's only unit.
Data released by NHS England shows that none of the 10 centres in England breached thresholds for child heart surgery deaths, but Leeds General Infirmary was very close to the alert level. Operations resumed at the unit on Wednesday following a safety review.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Sir Roger Boyle would play no further part in a review of where children's heart surgery should in future be carried out.
The government's former heart tsar sparked controversy last week when he told the BBC he would not send his daughter for treatment at Leeds General Infirmary's child heart surgery unit.
Mr Hunt said that while Sir Roger was still one of the leading heart surgeons his role in the Safe and Sustainable process aimed at centralising children's heart surgery into specialist centres would end.
He said: "He did the right thing in informing Sir Bruce (Keogh, NHS England Medical Director) about his concerns over Leeds mortality data.
"However it is the view of Sir Bruce, with which I fully concur, his comments to the media on April 11 could be seen as pre-judging any future conclusions made by that review and so it is right he plays no further role in its deliberations."
MPs are to ask questions in parliament over the handling of the Children's Heart Unit crisis in Leeds. Hull North MP Diana Johnson MP and Pudsey, Horsforth and Airborough MP Stewart Andrew will raise the issue this afternoon.
Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, has tweeted:
"Secretary of State announces that Sir Roger Boyle will play no further part in the Safe & Sustainable review."
Professor Sir Boyle had faced demands to step down over his claims that he would still not want his daughter to receive treatment at Leeds General Infirmary – even though it has reopened following a Government review.
Mortality rates for all children's heart surgery centres have been released following the temporary suspension of operations at the Leeds unit. It comes following concerns about death rates at Leeds which emerged after Newcastle's Freeman Hospital was chosen as the designated heart surgery centre.
The Freeman was selected over Leeds General Infirmary following the biggest consultation the NHS has ever carried out. However that decision is now on hold after campaigners in Leeds won a high court battle which upheld concerns that the rating system used during the decision process was flawed.
Now, data released by NHS England shows that none of the 10 centres in England breached thresholds for child heart surgery deaths, however Leeds General Infirmary was very close to the alert level. Operations resumed at the unit on Wednesday following a safety review.
The battle over the future of children's heart services has taken a new twist, with public disagreement between leading experts.
A former Government advisor has said he would not send his own daughter for heart surgery in Leeds, but would choose Newcastle.
Following the comment, NHS England stepped in to reassure parents. The Medical Director for the North of England told ITV News Tyne Tees he would have 'no doubt' about using the Leeds unit.
Both facilities are under review as part of a nationwide shake-up.
Watch Helen Ford's report here:
Campaigners fighting to retain children's heart surgery in Leeds, have responded angrily to comments from a medical expert.
Professor Sir Roger Boyle, who is a former Government advisor, said he wouldn't send his own daughter for heart surgery in Leeds but would choose Newcastle instead.
Operations at the Leeds unit were recently suspended but resumed this week.
The NHS Medical Director for the North of England, Mike Bewick, has stepped into the debate saying if he had children who were in this position, he would have 'no doubt' he would take them to Leeds.
Meanwhile, Leeds children's heart unit campaigner Sharon Cheng gave this response to Professor Sir Roger Boyle's remarks: