Children’s heart surgery has been suspended at the Leeds hospital unit which is at the centre of a battle to keep it open.
Leeds General Infirmary has announced that children’s congenital cardiac surgery will stop while an internal review of the service takes place.
Maggie Boyle, the chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said the review would take around three weeks.
“We apologise to parents and families who will be affected during this time, and can assure them we always put the safety of our patients first,” she said.
Campaigners were celebrating this week after the High Court quashed a decision that was taken last year to close the LGI’s children’s heart surgery unit.
The closure, which must now be reconsidered, would mean that families would have to take their children to Newcastle or Liverpool for treatment.
The uncertainty surrounding the closure led to claims that LGI staff were reluctant to refer patients for treatment at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, which has one of the units that would have stayed open under proposed reorganisation of services.
The Care Quality Commission health watchdog confirmed it had received complaints that this was happening and was involved the LGI’s decision to carry out an internal review.
The LGI strongly denied the allegations and today Ms Boyle said: “It is really important to us that the review is done as speedily and comprehensively as possible which, of course, we hope will show the services in Leeds to be safe.
“We are confident in the quality of the care provided by our staff and hope they will bear with us during this difficult time.
“Families whose surgery may be affected during this time are being contacted directly by the trust.”