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Former heart tsar would not send daughter to Leeds

The government's former heart tsar says he would not send his own daughter for treatment at Leeds General Infirmary's child heart surgery unit.

Speaking to the BBC, Sir Roger Boyle - the Department of Health's former National Director for Heart Disease - said "I would go somewhere else. I would go to Newcastle."

Low-risk operations resumed at Leeds General Infirmary on Wednesday. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Operations resumed at the Leeds unit this week after they were suspended when NHS figures suggested it had a death rate double that of other centres.

The hospital has provides assurance about its standards of care.

But Sir Roger said it remains "just on the edge of what we call an alert".

"In other words, showing that they were at right on the edge of acceptability."



Asda customers urged not to eat affected product

These are the facts that are known about the traces of 'bute' found in an Asda product:

  • The product was withdrawn from shelves on March 8th after testing positive for horse DNA over 1%. It was then tested for 'bute' in line with FSA guidelines.
  • Asda has withdrawn all corned beef products from its Smart Price range.

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

Families 'very worried' over Leeds heart unit suspension

Anne Keatley-Clarke, chief executive of the Children's Heart Federation, has said that families affected by the suspension of the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary are "very worried".

A lot of families have not yet been contacted and there are a lot families that are very worried there about what is going to happen with their children.

We are certainly receiving calls from parents, where they are extremely worried, and indeed at the moment extremely frightened by speaking out.

They are frightened of what might happen, there have certainly been all sorts of threats and we have been advising some of those parents to share the threats with the police, that's up to them if they want to take that forward.

– Anne Keatley-Clarke, chief executive of the Children's Heart Federation



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.


Great news that Leeds children's heart surgery is to reopen but someone has to answer for the way families have been treated. #reopenleeds


Leeds children's heart surgery unit will reopen next week subject to swift independent audit. Very good news -above all for the parents.


There are many unanswered questions, questions that so far NHS England have not answered. We must now have a proper investigation.


NHS 'scrabbling around' over Leeds heart unit decision

Roger Boyle, director of the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (NICOR), has told Radio 4's Today programme that the decision to restart the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary needs to be investigated.

I find it extraordinary that the medical director of the NHS still hasn't made a proper statement, still hasn't explained his actions and the actions of NHS England and that suggests to me that they are still scrabbling around trying to justify it.

We now need an investigation so we can get to the bottom of this decision, why it was taken, and we then need to understand that.

– Roger Boyle, NICOR

Heart surgery to resume in Leeds

Heart surgery is to resume at Leeds General Infirmary after a lengthy meeting to review the decision to suspend it.

Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, said he had been contacted by two whistleblowers last Tuesday, who said they had data showing mortality rates for the children's heart unit carrying out children's heart surgery was higher than expected.

He also said there were suspicions that LGI were not referring complex cases onto other centres.

But now, after a meeting between NHS authorities, surgery will resume next week.

Following a productive multi-agency meeting to review the decision to

suspend children’s cardiac surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, agreementwas reached to work together to restart surgery on the site early next weeksubject to independent assurance of concerns raised.

The meeting involved NHS England, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust,the NHS Trust Development Authority, and the Care Quality Commission.

Over the course of the weekend all agencies will work together toprovide sufficient assurance to all interested parties that this service is safe and can therefore re-open next week.

– Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

'Questions need to be answered' over Leeds heart unit

Parents have reacted positively to the news that the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary is set to restart.

Jon Arnold, whose daughter Zoe underwent heart surgery at the unit in 2007, said:

There's been massive support from the parents and families for the unit, and this decision confirms what we thought about the quality of care all along.

It was difficult to understand as a parent how they could have shut the ward so swiftly on the basis of unverified data. It left parents feeling very confused about what to believe and what was best for their child.

Once the unit is reopened then a lot of the families will have a lot of questions that need to be answered about the manner in which it closed.

– Jon Arnold
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