Future of child heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary still in the balance, despite resumption reports
Confused statement is followed by news of an expert review of the data this weekend
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Friday 05 April 2013
The immediate future of children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary remains in the balance after being suspended over safety concerns last week.
A 10-hour “risk summit” attended by NHS England, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Care Quality Commission last night culminated in a confused statement issued at 1am today which led to reports yesterday that surgery would resume next week.
But officials later confirmed no decision to restart had yet been made, and any move to do so would depend on a close examination of the mortality data and checks by independent experts over the weekend.
However, the statement marked a change of tone in a bitter dispute, with all the parties involved committing “to work together to restart surgery on the site early next week, subject to independent assurance of concerns raised”.
There was no explanation of where the independent assurance is being sought or whether it will be forthcoming. A source close to the discussions said that “if and when” surgery were restarted, it would be likely to be phased – with some operations resuming while others remained suspended, with patients referred elsewhere. There are 150 different child heart operations, with differing levels of difficulty.
Critics of the Leeds unit said today the reprieve was “politically motivated” after announcement of the suspension provoked an outcry from local MPs. The unit’s defenders complained they were being denied a “level playing field”.
The drama began when Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, ordered the suspension on 28 March based on preliminary data shown to him by Sir Roger Boyle, former Government heart czar and director of the National Institute for Clinical Outcomes Research, which suggested Leeds’ mortality rate was twice the national average. The decision came less than 24 hours after the High Court quashed a plan to close the Leeds unit permanently – prompting claims of conspiracy.
The Department of Health today defended Sir Bruce saying he had no option but to close temporarily the unit based on the new data and other information,
At the risk summit yesterday the trust presented its own data on outcomes which showed it in a more positive light. That data will be examined by experts from outside the hospital over the weekend.
One source said he remained doubtful about Leeds’ safety: “The latest data has not given me confidence. I am not confident it is right to reopen it. There are too many cooks, and I think they are succumbing to political pressure.”
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Isis in Kobani: US resupplies Kurdish fighters by plane - then Turkey allows reinforcements through its border
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Year 1 Primary Supply Teachers needed for...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: EY/KS1 Qualified Teaching Assistant J...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified and unquali...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: KS1 & KS2 Teaching Job in Plymouth an...