Children’s heart surgery resumes at Leeds hospital

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Wetherby’s MP Alec Shelbrooke says there are “serious questions to answer” over the suspension of Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery after operations resumed yesterday.

Children’s heart surgery was temporarily suspended from the Leeds General Infirmary unit on Friday March 29 after a review led to concerns over high patient death rates.

But it was announced last Friday that surgery would restart this week “subject to independent validation of the clinical data”.

Wetherby MP Alec Shelbrooke told the Wetherby News he was pleased with the decision to restart surgery but said the suspension had been hard for those families affected.

He said: “Naturally I am pleased common sense has prevailed.

I have spoken with constituents whose children were due to have surgery in Leeds last week and this has only added further stress to what is already an emotional time for families.

“There are now serious questions to answer and my parliamentary colleagues and I will be demanding these immediately.”

A “phased resumption” of children’s heart surgery at the hospital began on Wednesday, starting with lower-risk cases.

The decision to suspend surgery at Leeds General Infirmary came just a week after a High Court ruled the consultation over changing children’s heart surgery in England and Wales was flawed.

Mr Shelbrooke condemned the decision last week to suspend surgery, adding that the timing of the closure was strange and the decision to suspend heart surgery had been too “rash”.

The MP, who has backed the Save Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery campaign, was among those who handed in a petition to save the unit to Downing Street in 2011.

Leeds General Infirmary has been earmarked for closure under an NHS review, which had aimed to concentrate children’s heart surgery in fewer centres covering larger areas. Save Our Surgery campaigner Sharon Cheng