Leeds & West Yorkshire

Children transferred during Leeds heart unit suspension

Leeds General Infirmary
Image caption NHS England said the suspension was the right decision

Ten children were transferred to other hospitals while children's heart surgery was suspended at Leeds General Infirmary, it has been revealed.

Operations have resumed after they were stopped 12 days ago amid claims records showed higher-than-usual death rates.

A meeting of Yorkshire's health watchdog was told the children were treated in Alder Hey, Newcastle, Birmingham and Leicester.

NHS England said suspension of surgery was the right decision.

At a meeting of the the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Dr Mike Bewick, from NHS England, said he apologised for the inconvenience caused by the suspension but not for the decision.

'Huge inconvenience'

He denied that the action was too hasty.

Earlier this week, NHS England announced a phased resumption of surgery following the completion of a first stage of a review into services.

During that part of the review, assurances had been received from independent experts about the quality of surgery and staffing levels that were sufficient to allow the phased resumption of operations, NHS England said.

The second stage of the review will look at other areas where improvement may be necessary, including the way complaints from patients were handled and the completion of a review of patients' case notes over the last three years.

Save Our Surgery (SOS) - the group fighting to save the children's heart unit - has called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to launch an investigation into the suspension of operations.

Speaking on Tuesday, campaigner Sharon Cheng said: "Given that the suspension potentially put patients at risk, has caused huge inconvenience and added stress to the families of children who have had to be treated elsewhere... questions must be asked as to why operations were suspended in the first place."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites