Vindication for Leeds heart surgery campaigners

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MORE than two years after children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary was suspended because of a controversy over mortality rates, the latest NHS England guidelines are a vindication of all those who have been campaigning for at least six years to safeguard the future of potentially lifesaving operations at the hospital.

MORE than two years after children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary was suspended because of a controversy over mortality rates, the latest NHS England guidelines are a vindication of all those who have been campaigning for at least six years to safeguard the future of potentially lifesaving operations at the hospital.

This is a milestone moment. With Leeds now better placed than other cardiac centres to meet the new standards for congenital heart surgery that are set to be introduced by the National Health Service, patients – and particularly the parents of seriously-ill young children – should now be spared the prospect of having to travel long distances for critical treatment. There is still work to do – surgeons are now expected to work in teams of four and Leeds needs to recruit another specialist consultant but the outlook now stands in contrast to the despair and despondency of Easter 2013 when operations were suspended abruptly, and amid much rancour and recrimination, over a supposed expert’s interpretation of mortality data which was subsequently proved to be erroneous following a public outcry and the tabling of questions in Parliament.

NHS England has lessons to learn. If they had looked at this issue from a clinical perspective at the outset, rather than being fixated by a desire to close heart units at all costs, it would have retained the confidence of those patients caught up in this scandal and but spared them considerable anguish.

Honour for Leeds boxing superstar

Leeds boxing sensation Nicola Adams was yesterday honoured in her home city when she was presented with an honorary doctorate by the University of Leeds.

“To be honoured in Leeds, my home town where I grew up was brilliant,” said Nicola. “Leeds has always backed me all the way.”

Our city’s sporting superstar is proving to be a fabulous role model - and this latest honour is truly deserved.

Knockout, Dr Adams.

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