Leeds NHS hospital trust to replace chief executive Maggie Boyle following children's heart surgery row

 

An NHS trust at the centre of a row over children's heart surgery is to replace its chief executive, it said on Saturday.

Maggie Boyle will leave Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) next month ahead of a management shake-up which follows fears over high mortality figures.

Operations were temporarily suspended earlier this year after concerns were raised over death rates at the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

Ms Boyle is not believed to have tendered her resignation.

A trust spokesman would not confirm whether her departure was related to the heart surgery controversy.

Ms Boyle, a former nurse, issued a statement through the trust in which she expressed support for managerial change and the implementation of a "clinically led" structure.

"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be chief executive at LTHT over the past six years," she said.

"I believe the move to new management arrangements which will see a clinically led, managerially supported structure being established is absolutely the right thing to do and will have enormous benefits for patient focused care delivery.

"I would like to wish the senior leaders and all of their staff all best wishes for a successful future."

The trust found itself at the centre of a public outcry when Sir Roger Boyle, the Government's former heart tsar, raised fears about high mortality rates at Leeds General Infirmary.

He presented data to NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh who suspended surgery at the hospital's child cardiac unit for eight days while an investigation took place.

The decision - which meant ten sick children had to be transferred to centres up to 120 miles away for treatment - was widely condemned. Experts claimed the information which led to the unit's closure was incomplete.

But Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said suspending surgery was "absolutely the right thing" to do.

Sir Roger resigned from his role last month.

A trust spokesman said: "Arrangements to cover the chief executive post until a substantive appointment is made will be advised shortly."

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