Statement: Lifting of the suspension of pediatric heart surgery at LGI

For Immediate Release

Following the news about the lifting of the suspension of pediatric heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary the Children’s Heart Federation would like to issue the following statement:

CHF fully supported the decision to suspend pediatric heart  surgery at Leeds General Infirmary because of safety concerns at the unit.  CHF supports the aim to reinstate surgery once all concerned in the subsequent investigations are fully satisfied that it is safe to do so.  We trust that the investigation has been thorough, independent and not overly hasty.

We have been concerned by the confusion caused by the lack of sufficient explanation regarding the decision to suspend surgery. This has added to the worry and fear of parents whose children are being treated for congenital heart conditions at the LGI from Yorkshire and other parts of the country.

We ask therefore, that clear explanations of the decisions taken be provided and full disclosure on the detail of the investigations of the last week;  in order to reassure worried parents of the thoroughness of the investigations and that surgery is safe.

We understand that for many people involved this is a very emotive issue and we call for all involved to respect the views of others, particularly those of parents who have been brave enough to express their concerns in public.  We look forward to seeing an end to the harassment and bullying leveled at these concerned parents and for them to get the support they undoubtedly deserve.

CHF will continue to speak out for parents and children with heart disease and aim to give a voice to those who find it difficult to be heard.



Notes for editors:

  • The Children`s Heart Federation (CHF) is the leading UK charity working for families of children with heart conditions. CHF is an umbrella body with 24 member organisations that support children and young people with heart defects from birth or acquired in childhood and their families in the UK and Ireland. CHF provides information and support through its freephone helpline 0808 808 5000, open Monday to Friday and its website:
  • Approximately 5000 babies in the UK are born with a heart condition each year, with a further 1000 developing a serious heart problem after birth. Around 3600 operations are performed by 31 paediatric cardiac surgeons within 11 centres in England each year.
  • Leeds General Infirmary took the decision to suspend pediatric heart surgery on the 28th of March.
  • On 4 July 2012 a Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts met to decide the future configuration of children’s congenital heart services and decided that the options for change that will provide the best  quality care s the one where congenital heart networks will formally structured around Specialist Surgical Centres in Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton. Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and Evelina Children’s Hospital will lead the congenital heart networks in London and the South East. :
  • Last month a High Court Judicial Review, found parts of the NHS consultation process had been ‘flawed’ and yesterday ordered that that part be of the process be repeated. The NHS are considering what their next steps will be.


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