Heads of children’s heart surgery in Leeds have strongly refuted allegations linked to referring patients to another hospital.
Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is considering claims there was resistance over sending patients from Leeds General Infirmary to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
The LGI unit has been earmarked for closure, though a campaign group earlier this month won their legal challenge to the decision.
Next week a judge is set to rule on the implications of this.
The CQC said it was looking into the concerns, rather than carrying out an investigation.
A CQC spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the concerns that have been raised and we are currently considering whether any regulatory action is required.
“CQC’s priority is to ensure the safety and welfare of patients is being met at all times and we will not hesitate to take appropriate action to ensure this.”
National charity the Children’s Heart Federation has written to the CQC saying it is aware of “much concern” over care at LGI.
Heartline – which represents families – has written to NHS heads saying parents who want their child to be treated elsewhere are being treated inappropriately.
In 2011, the Care Quality Commission looked into heart operations at LGI after worries over care were outlined.
The watchdog concluded there was no need for further action.
Regarding the new allegations, a spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We strongly refute any suggestion that we would act improperly either by restricting referrals or by failing to carry out surgery where either of these actions was the right thing to do.
“We are not aware that the CQC is formally investigating any allegations of this kind.
“We have been in correspondence with the CQC about specific concerns that have been raised by some families both with the CQC and with us directly.
“We are dealing with those concerns and have provided assurance to the CQC about our actions.
“Our principal concern has always been and continues to be patients’ health and every decision we take in relation to children’s heart surgery treatment or referral is based upon clinical judgement about the best outcomes.”