A Leeds politician has called the review of children’s heart surgery units a “charade”.
Coun John Illingworth accused the decision to move the service from Leeds of being “predetermined”.
In July, health service heads decided the Leeds unit should stop doing surgery and patients travel to Newcastle instead.
Councillor Illingworth was criticising the NHS review team who he said had not provided information about the process – though they told the YEP all relevant documents were in the public domain.
The councilllor, who is chairman of Leeds City Council’s Health Scrutiny Board, said this was delaying Yorkshire politicians referring the decision to the Health Secretary.
“The delay has been totally in the lap of the Safe and Sustainable organisation who have been reluctant to answer questions,” the councillor told a meeting. “At every stage in the process we have had to ask and ask repeatedly to get access to things.”
He added: “The only reason to my mind for them making it difficult to access information is because there’s something to hide.
“The conclusion I have come to is that it was decided at an early stage that the service would go to Newcastle because the transplant service had gone to Newcastle.
“We have gone through a charade. We have had half a million people take part in petitions and a public consultation that was essentially predetermined.
“The whole of the public process has been, to my mind, a waste of time and money because other reasons were given and we had a false consultation which made it very difficult for people in Leeds to defend their interests.”
After the decision was made Sir Roger Boyle, one of the experts involved, told the YEP the verdict was not decided in advice.
Today Jeremy Glyde, Safe and Sustainable programme director, said: “Following the scrutiny committee’s decision in July to refer the changes to children’s heart services to the Health Secretary, we have worked closely with Coun Illingworth to answer a significant number of questions and have shared with him vast amounts of information to help the referral submission.
“All the information that the NHS used to reach its decision is in the public domain including independent reports, data analysis and responses to the public consultation.”