Children’s heart surgery to resume at Leeds

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Children’s heart surgery is to resume at Leeds General Infirmary after days of uncertainty over its future.

The decision to “work together” to reopen the unit early next week was reached at a summit between Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS England and other partners late last night (Thursday April 4).

A spokesman for the trust said the agencies will act over the weekend to “provide sufficient assurance” that the unit is safe to reopen.

He said: “Following a productive multi-agency meeting to review the decision to suspend children’s cardiac surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, agreement was reached to work together to restart surgery on the site early next week subject to independent assurance of concerns raised.”

All operations at the unit were halted last Thursday after NHS figures suggested the unit had a death rate double that of other centres.

As reported in this week’s Free Press Bridlington mum Kelly Nalton has spoken of her shock and dismay at the decision to suddenly suspend child heart surgery at the unit where her three-year-old daughter Laiela had undergone life-saving surgery.

The move has been welcomed by Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaigners who hope surgery will now be resumed as soon as possible.

Sharon Cheng of Save Our Surgery, said: “The last week’s investigations and discussions have indicated that standards at the unit are safe – we now wait for the final independent assurance so that we can move ahead.

“We are asking that surgery be resumed as early as possible next week so that patients and families, who have been so worried through this suspension period, can be reassured that the unit is operating safely, and that planned treatments will be able to proceed. Many children are reliant on the Leeds unit for urgent or on-going treatment, so the sooner normal service can be resumed, the better.”

For more on this story see next Thursday’s Free Press.