Children’s heart surgery reform suspended

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt makes a statement on heart surgery in the House of Commons, London.
Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt makes a statement on heart surgery in the House of Commons, London.

Plans to reform children’s heart surgery in England have been suspended as the decision was based on a “flawed analysis”.

Campaigners were opposed to ending surgery at Leeds General Infirmary after the NHS announced that they were going to concentrate care in fewer, bigger centres.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered an independent review of the decision.

Repairing the hearts of children born with congenital defects is one of the most complex procedures in the NHS.

Ten hospitals currently perform the delicate surgery required, but last year “Safe & Sustainable review” performed by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts ruled expertise was spread too thinly.

Mr Hunt asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, an advisory body, to assess the decision.

He told the Commons: “The IPR report also concludes that the outcome of the Safe & Sustainable review was based on a flawed analysis of the impact of incomplete proposals, and leaves too many questions about sustainability and implementation.

“This is clearly a serious criticism of the Safe & Sustainable process. I therefore accept their recommendation that the proposals cannot go ahead in their current form and am suspending the review today.”