Wakefield parents back Leeds children’s heart surgery unit

Toby Lancaster with mum Joanne

Toby Lancaster with mum Joanne

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Parents of children treated at Leeds children’s heart unit have welcomed a decision to allow surgery to resume.

All operations at the Leeds General Infirmary unit were halted last Thursday after NHS figures suggested it had a death rate double that of other centres.

Medical experts questioned the accuracy of the data, which they said was unverified.

At a meeting late last night (Thursday) health bosses decided to reopen the unit next week and agencies will act over the weekend to “provide sufficient assurance” it is safe to reopen.

Families criticised the timing of the unit’s suspension, which came just 24 hours after a High Court judge ruled that a decision-making process to close it as part of an England-wide reorganisation of services was “legally flawed”.

If the unit closes, poorly children from Wakefield will have to travel to Liverpool or Newcastle for treatment.

Joanne Lancaster, of Stanley, campaigned as her six-year-old son Toby received life saving treatment at the hospital.

She said: “It has been a real roller coaster ride of emotions this week.

“I am pleased that surgery will resume, but I would like to see that happen as soon as possible.

“All I can say from personal experience is that we have always had excellent service from the staff at Leeds when they have cared for out little boy, Toby.

“They have saved his life.

“We have been there for long periods of time and we have never heard any rumblings of anything being wrong.

“I feel for the staff.”

Sue Bastow, whose daughter Ebony Fisher, of Normanton, received life saving treatment at LGI, said: “Hopefully now the dedicated surgeons and staff at the unit can carry on doing the job they are passionate about and let our children receive the Gold Standard Care that Leeds offers so many children.

“When the time comes for my daughter to have more heart surgery I would want her operated on by the excellent team at Leeds. To have 100 per cent trust in a team speaks volumes.

“Trying to drag the unit through the mud will not stop us parents believing in Leeds.

“Our children fight everyday to be here, the least we can do as parents is fight for what we believe is best for them.”