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Child heart surgery unit closures review due

The results of a review into the future of children's heart surgery at three hospitals in England is expected to be published later today.

Last year, the NHS revealed plans to end surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and the Royal Brompton in west London.

However, after legal challenges and public opposition to the plans, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered the review in October.

The decision to stop heart surgery on children at certain hospitals has been controversial. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Hunt has 'full confidence' in Leeds children's heart unit

The Health Secretary said he has "full confidence" in the children's heart surgery unit in Leeds, weeks after operations were briefly suspended over health concerns.

Jeremy Hunt said it would not be long before he would be making decisions on the safe and sustainable review into children's heart surgery, which is looking at centralising the service into fewer, more specialised centres.

General view of the main entrance to Leeds General Infirmary. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

The local MP for Pudsey, Stuart Andrew, said the Leeds unit had undergone the greatest scrutiny of all during the review.

Mr Hunt said: "I do have full confidence in the children's heart surgery at Leeds. I know they do an excellent job.

"You will understand that when there are safety concerns they do have to be investigated. But I'm delighted those issues have been resolved and surgery is continuing."


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.

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

'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

Leeds children's heart surgery to restart

Leeds General Infirmary Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A children's heart unit is set to restart at Leeds General Infirmary after being suspended over patient care concerns.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust will work with other agencies, including NHS England, the NHS Trust Development Authority and the Care Quality Commission to provide "sufficient assurance" that the unit is ready to reopen.

In a statement, Maggie Boyle, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: “I am extremely confident that this service is safe and effective and should recommence at the earliest opportunity. I want partner organisations to be as confident in the service as I am."

The children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary has remained suspended for the past week.

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