Laurence Vick
Posted on 19 Mar 2014

Parents still have questions over Leeds General Infirmary

Leeds declared a safe unit, but parents remain uncertain

A report has declared the Leeds child heart unit safe, a year after its services were suspended in reaction to concerns over high mortality data. NHS England's review has now concluded that the death rates were not excessive; however, despite declaring the unit safe overall, the report also contained stark observations about the level of care and service that patients and families received. Many parents still hold questions about the treatment their children received at Leeds.

Among those seeking answers are the parents of Mylee Casey and Jessica Elliot, recently interviewed for the BBC. Both families are represented by Michelmores' Laurence Vick, who is representing a growing group of families affected by failings at the unit. An inquest into Mylee's death is still pending.

With a spate of recent inquests into deaths at the Bristol Royal Children's Hospital, issues surrounding child cardiac surgery have once again come to the fore. The expertise of surgical and nursing staff, the level of information provided to parents and the accuracy of outcomes data recording are all under question, in circumstances uneasily similar to the Bristol scandal of the 1990s.

The support group Fragile Hearts, which represents parents whose children died or were harmed as a result of heart surgery, has said that 'the changes instigated by NHS England within the unit [do not] go far enough', and that the report is 'damning of the whole pathway of care received by our parents.' The group continues to campaign for greater transparency and accountability in child heart units, as well as redress for families.

Read the BBC's background to the Leeds report, including an interview with Michelle Elliot.

The Independent article on the Leeds report.

If you would like to discuss a claim relating to child heart surgery or the Leeds General Infirmary, you can contact us for free, discreet and impartial advice.