Leeds General Infirmary child heart unit gets three new surgeons

PROTEST: A rally against the closure of the children's heart unit.
PROTEST: A rally against the closure of the children's heart unit.
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Three permanent consultants have been appointed to Leeds children’s heart surgery service.

The appointments to the Leeds General Infirmary unit come after plans which put it under threat went back to the drawing board.

Surgery was temporarily suspended earlier this year and restarted after a review of care confirmed it was safe.

Directors at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust were also told that a second phase of the review, looking at all 30 deaths over the past three years, found no single major issues.

External experts said some systems and processes could lead to improvements, but a report added: “Importantly, none of these issues were considered to have influenced any of the deaths.

“It was also felt by the team that many of the recommendations are likely to apply to other paediatric cardiac surgery units.”

A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said they had already received feedback from the report.

“This backs up the findings of part one that the service is safe, with no immediate causes for concern. We hope the report will be published in full soon to end any further speculation,” he said.

The spokesman added: “In addition, the Trust has now completed the recruitment of three new permanent consultant surgeons to undertake children’s heart surgery.”

Chief operating officer Mark Smith updated a meeting of hospital directors yesterday about the details of the announcement earlier this month by the Government to re-think the decision to permanently move surgery from Leeds.

“I think the board would welcome this as a positive development and an opportunity to reflect,” he said.

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