Leeds children’s heart surgery review fury

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A LEEDS MP has written to David Cameron over the way a review into children’s heart surgery was carried out.

Greg Mulholland, Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, said he was concerned with the “impartiality, the accuracy and the consistency” of the national review.

The children’s heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary is under threat because the review suggested that several of the 11 centres should close.

To the anger of patients and doctors in Leeds, Newcastle was favoured over the LGI in three out of four options, now being consulted on.

In his letter, Mr Mulholland said there were no clinicians or NHS officials from Yorkshire sitting on the Safe and Sustainable Steering Group, which made the recommendations.

The group does, however, include consultants working at hospitals in Oxford, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Southampton, South London, Guy’s and St Thomas’s and Great Ormond Street in London.

The group’s vice chairman is Leslie Hamilton, a consultant cardiac surgeon at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust and the former president for the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery.

The final decision about the shape of children’s heart surgery services will be made by a Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT). Mr Hamilton is also an advisor to the JCPCT, Mr Mulholland said.

The MP stressed that “no-one is suggesting anything inappropriate or casting any aspersions on anyone involved” but added that it does seem quite obviously wrong” that Leeds did not have a representative on the Steering Group, when the Newcastle unit did.”

In a strongly worded statement, Teresa Moss, director, National Specialised Commissioning Team, said: “Leslie Hamilton has provided only the most professional and impartial of advice.

“Suggestions to the contrary are unfounded and inappropriate especially considering his international standing and personal reputation in this highly specialist field.

“Leslie Hamilton is an adult surgeon; he retired from children’s heart surgery some years ago because he believed centres must be larger to ensure services are safe and sustainable for the future.”


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