Leeds heart surgery suspension right, says Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt: "Was the right decision made? The answer is categorically, yes"

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Temporary suspension of children's heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary was correct, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Mr Hunt was responding earlier to an urgent question from Stewart Andrew, the Conservative MP for Pudsey.

Surgery resumed on Wednesday after it was suspended on 28 March amid NHS claims the hospital had a mortality rate twice the national average.

Mr Andrew has called for an inquiry into the decision to halt surgery.

Mr Hunt told the House of Commons: "If there is evidence that patient safety is at risk it is absolutely right that the NHS acts quickly and decisively to prevent harm to patients."

Operations were suspended while a review was carried out into concerns about the number of deaths at the hospital because of information about higher-than-usual mortality rates.

Expert off review

Experts questioned the accuracy of the data and at a meeting earlier this month, NHS bosses decided to allow operations to resume.

Mr Hunt also confirmed Sir Roger Boyle, who had leaked the mortality data, would play no further role in the review of where children's heart surgery should be carried out.

Sir Roger is director of the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, which oversees mortality figures across the NHS.

After operations resumed at Leeds he said he would not want his daughter treated at Leeds General Infirmary's child cardiac unit.

Mr Hunt said: "He did the right thing in informing Sir Bruce (Keogh, NHS England Medical Director) about his concerns over Leeds mortality data.

"However it is the view of Sir Bruce, with which I fully concur, his comments to the media on April 11 could be seen as pre-judging any future conclusions made by that review and so it is right he plays no further role in its deliberations."

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