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Children's Heart Surgery

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 18 April 2013

A spotlight has been shone on the children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

On 27th March campaigners trying to keep the centre open had won in the High Court: a decision previously taken to close Leeds as part of a national shake-up of children's heart services was quashed.

Spurred by the inquiry into the Bristol heart scandal more than a decade ago, Safe and Sustainable aims to reduce the number of paediatric cardiac units across England from 10 to 7, each having a minimum of four surgeons so as to concentrate expertise.

But, a day later the medical director for NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, ordered the pausing of surgery at Leeds. He had heard concerns from families and professionals over the standard of care at Leeds General Infirmary, and was shown figures purporting to show it had twice the mortality rate than would have been expected.

Since then, he's faced accusations of interfering in the process for political reasons after it emerged his intervention had been partly based on inaccurate data. Surgery has now resumed, but questions remain. Hannah Barnes speaks to those whose initial concerns prompted the pause in surgery, questions Sir Bruce Keogh on his current assessment of safety at Leeds, and asks who parents can trust to tell them where is best for their children to be treated.

Producer: Phil Kemp
Reporter: Hannah Barnes.

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