Plans to end children’s heart surgery in Leeds is suspended

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Controversial plans to close Leeds children’s heart surgery unit have been suspended.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said an NHS review which decided to end life-saving operations at Leeds General Infirmary was based on “flawed analysis”.

The NHS had planned to concentrate care in fewer, bigger centres, meaning poorly children from Wakefield, Pontefract, Castleford, Dewsbury, Batley and Morley would have had to travel to Liverpool or Newcastle for treatment.

Mr Hunt ordered an independent review following opposition to the Safe & Sustainable review, which was performed by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts.

It said surgery should be concentrated in seven specialist centres by 2014 in order to improve safety, resulting in the closure in Leeds.

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

He told the Commons today (Wednesday): “The IPR report also concludes that the outcome of the Safe and 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 and Sustainable process. I therefore accept their recommendation that the proposals cannot go ahead in their current form and am suspending the review today.”