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

Health Editor

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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory