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Doctor accuses NHS heads of ‘unfair’ report over Leeds kids’ heart surgery unit

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A LEADING specialist has accused national NHS managers of writing a “grotesquely unfair” report on Leeds children’s heart surgery unit.

Retired Leeds consultant Dr John Gibbs accused health service bosses of “shafting” staff at the unit over last month’s report, which was highly critical about the care of 16 patients.

Dr Gibbs has written to the medical director of NHS England Bruce Keogh to express his outrage that no analysis or response to the complaints was included.

He said: “The overall message you have given and have appeared to be determined to give...is that the Leeds paediatric cardiac service is dodgy and needs sorting and that the staff are callous and uncaring. This is statistical nonsense and is grotesquely unfair to all involved.”

Dr Gibbs added: “A sad day indeed for the NHS, when the employees of the NHS are shafted by the very people they should be able to trust to be fair and objective.”

The retired consultant paediatric cardiologist told the Yorkshire Evening Post efforts had been made to discredit the Leeds General Infirmary unit.

“There are all sorts of political and personal undercurrents with the whole thing,” he said.

Two reports on the Leeds children’s heart surgery service were published last month, both linked to the temporary suspension of operations last year.

Dr Gibbs said while the views of families were important, the report was “purely anecdotal from a tiny proportion of the families cared for”.

The expert also repeated previous criticisms over the use of unverified mortality rate data. A second report has confirmed mortality rates were acceptable.

Dr Gibbs, previously lead doctor for the body which compiled the figures, said no attempt was made to check the data before surgery was “dictatorially and immediately stopped”.

A spokesman for NHS England said they received the letter from Dr Gibbs on April 2.

“We are carefully considering its contents and will be replying shortly,” he added.

 

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