NHS England West Yorkshire Area Director Andy Buck told a meeting of councillors from the Yorkshire and Humber region today that the second stage of the review was still going on.
Here are the headlines of his update:
1) a review of case notes of children who died at the unit in the first 30 days after surgery over the past few years has found “no new issues requiring immediate action”
2) an independent review is under way into concerns and complaints raised by parents and families
3) and a final check is being carried out as to whether there are “any other outstanding issues that require further attention”
The first phase of the review was carried out in April following the suspension of surgery at the unit at the end of March.
“No major safety issues”
A draft report arising from the case notes review is currently being considered by the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and NHS England.
“What I can confirm is that from an NHS England perspective we found no new issues requiring immediate action or intervention,” Buck told the meeting.
He went on to read out a note from the Trust’s interim chief executive, Chris Reed (who wasn’t at the meeting), that said that as the review report was still in draft form he (Reed) couldn’t comment in detail.
“However, we can say that in receiving the draft there were no major safety issues which emerged which would lead us to restrict or suspend the service,” Reed was quoted as saying.
“As with any detailed review of any service there are areas identified where further improvements can be made and we will be taking these forwards. We think the same improvements would be beneficial in other children’s heart centres as well as Leeds,” the note from Reed said.
The independent review that’s still under way is being carried out by Professor Pat Cantrill, who is meeting parents and families who have expressed concerns or raised complaints.
Once the meetings are done, she’ll be writing a report for NHS England and the Trust and then “we will together decide what, if any, further steps are needed”, Buck said.
As the final part of the second of the stage of the review, Buck said, “we are just checking whether there there any other outstanding issues that require further attention before we can draw this undoubtedly difficult episode to a satisfactory conclusion”. He didn’t elaborate.
Asked when that conclusion might happen, Buck said he hoped it would be “reasonably soon”.
As for the long-term future of heart surgery in Leeds, the meeting was briefed by NHS Director of System Policy John Holden on how the new review into congenital heart services in England ordered by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is progressing.
Holden has been blogging about the review for the last couple of months. You can read his blog here. It’s pretty informative.