- 9 updates
It is safe - but mistakes were still made. That's the verdict of a review published today into the children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary.
The health trust has been forced to apologise to 16 families it let down, but the unit, which was closed for two weeks last year over concerns about death rates, is safe to treat some of the region's most poorly children. David Hirst reports.
Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, has welcomed the NHS England report which confirms Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Unit is safe and always has been.
The review, commissioned after operations were suspended for two weeks at the Unit last March, has concluded that the Unit at Leeds General Infirmary does not have an excessive mortality rate.
Stuart Andrew MP, who has long been supporting the campaign to keep paediatric cardiac services in Leeds, has spoken of his relief that a report into mortality rates says the unit is safe.
The second part of a report that ruled Leeds General Infirmary's children's heart unit is safe, outlined the experiences of 16 families who complained about care their children received at the unit, prompting six to have their child's treatment transferred to another centre.
- One mother said she felt pressurised into having an abortion, which was against her Muslim beliefs
- A bereaved parent told the investigators: "We were given no support by the staff after Annie died. We were given a leaflet. Nobody asked how we were getting home in the early hours of the morning."
- Another described how a book had gone missing in which their son had been writing about his experiences before his death. "It was like losing another part of him," the parent said. "They [staff] didn't seem bothered ... We had been going to Leeds for 10 years and no-one has rung to see how we are."
The chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Julian Hartley has apologised for the level of care received by 16 families at the children's heart surgery unit.
Michelle Elliott from Doncaster is one of the mothers to receive an apology from the Leeds Teaching Hopsitals NHS Trust in the report about mortality rates.
She believes her 13-year-old daughter Jessica waited so long for a heart transplant, after doctors said she wasn't sick enough, that she ended up having a stroke.
Jessica was finally referred to Newcastle where she had the operation - but the stroke has left her debilitated for life. Michelle, who has fought for all the families through her group Fragile Hearts says the apology should only be the beginning.
Director of the Children's Heart Surgery Fund Sharon Cheng has been speaking to David Hirst following the review, which has found that the unit in Leeds is safe. She says cases where care was not of a high standard need to been seen in the context of the numbers of patients treated.
Dr Mike Bewick is the Deputy Medical Director of NHS England. He says the level of care at the Children's Heart Surgery unit in Leeds is of a high standard, but has paid tribute to the families who spoke to the Mortality Case Review about their concerns.
Latest ITV News reports
The region's only children's heart surgery unit is safe according to a review, but 16 families were let down by the level of care.