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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Questions to Health Secretary about Leeds children’s heart unit

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sheffield Heeley MP, Meg Munn, was one of a number of Yorkshire MPs who questioned the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, in the House of Commons yesterday about the recent decision to suspend services at the Leeds children’s heart unit.  Meg’s question and the Secretary of State’s response follow. Whilst surgery has resumed at the unit, Meg will be asking further questions of the Minister and has called for the Health Select Committee to launch an inquiry to investigate recent events.

Meg Munn MP asked:

“A baby born with a heart condition in Sheffield who needs a complex intervention would normally go to Leeds.  One of the concerns about the Safe and Sustainable Review was that children from my constituency would have had to travel further.  The decision to suspend the Leeds unit created that very situation.

The Secretary of State needs to acknowledge that children could, as it turns out, have been put at risk unnecessarily by closing a unit that was in fact safe, because they would have had to travel further, which for very ill babies is a risk in itself.  

At the heart of this has been a lack of transparency and a failure to put information into the public domain.  I have had to table parliamentary questions to try to get information about what is happening.  Nobody wants an unsafe situation.  Will the Secretary of State now commit to complete transparency in respect of all the information?”

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, said:

“This situation arose because of the much greater data transparency and because the Government have been encouraging people to come forward if they have concerns about things going wrong.  As a result, we were presented with data on the basis of which the NHS director decided that the safe and sensible thing to do was to suspend surgery while we got to the bottom of these data, which could have demonstrated some very serious outcomes.

We need to take good advice from clinicians about the balance of risk.  Yes, there might be some risks with people having to travel further for the surgery, but surely the risks are much greater if potentially unsafe operations are allowed to continue.  That was why, on that balance of risk, it was decided to suspend surgery at Leeds until we could get to the bottom of whether the data were right.” 

To see the questioning in full visit:

 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130415/debtext/130415-0001.htm#1304154000003


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