Surgeon kicked off heart debate

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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has removed a top surgeon from a review into whether children’s heart surgery should continue at Leeds General Infirmary after he made adverse comments to the media.

Sir Roger Boyle press gave interviews last week where he said he would not send his own daughter to LGI for surgery.

Mr Hunt has now said Sir Roger will play no further part in the national Safe and Sustainable review of paediatric cardiac surgery, which aims to centralise services into fewer specialist centres.

The review announced last summer surgery would end at LGI, but campaigners Save Our Surgery won a judical review in March overturning the decision.

Just 24 hours after that ruling NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh suspended surgery at LGI, following data leaked by Sir Roger suggesting death rates were twice the national average.

The figures were later disputed and surgery resumed last week, following a review.

Mr Hunt said: “He did the right thing in informing Sir Bruce about his concerns over Leeds mortality data.

“However it is the view of Sir Bruce, with which I fully concur, his comments to the media on April 11 could be seen as pre-judging any future conclusions made by that review and so it si right he plays no further role in its deliberations.”

Sharon Cheung, of SOS, said: “For some time now we have questioned Sir Roger’s objectivity.

“By his actions, he has proved what we have always claimed, that the whole Safe and Sustainable review was pre-determined.”