‘Flawed’ analysis in heart surgery fight, court is told UPDATED

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Leeds campaigners fighting the closure of the city’s child heart surgery unit have been accused by the NHS in Newcastle of a “self-interested” attack.

Supporters’ group Save Our Surgery (SOS) has been at the High Court to argue that assessments of the hospitals which carry out surgery were unfair and, if done correctly and the details revealed, may have seen Leeds beat Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

But Fenella Morris QC, for the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, accused SOS of a “fundamentally flawed” comparison.

The group’s analysis was “riddled with inaccuracies” and based on “highly selective information”, she told the judge, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies.

“It amounts to little more than a self-interested re-scoring of all the criteria in the claimant’s favour on the basis of unsubstantiated hypotheticals,” she said.

“The claimant’s submissions based upon this purported analysis - that disclosure of the sub-scores would have revealed, or would have allowed Leeds to reveal, Newcastle’s inferiority - are bound to fail.”

Miss Morris said Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital is one of the top five centres in the world.

The Newcastle trust had not intended to get involved in the judicial review, but felt it had to because “Leeds were seeking to support their challenge by making statements about the trust which were inaccurate and professionally derogatory”, she added.

On behalf of SOS, Philip Havers QC said it was never Leeds’ intention to criticise the Freeman Hospital and that he regretted it if it had been interpreted that way.

Mr Havers added that the case came down to whether it was right that the sub-sc

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