Families are pleased at Leeds heart hospital findings

Craven Herald: Lois Brown and daughter Amelie in 2010 Lois Brown and daughter Amelie in 2010

Parents of children treated at the children’s heart unit in Leeds have welcomed the news that the facility is “safe and running well”.

The unit had been under review after concerns were raised last year about data on death rates.

Now the review team has concluded that while some families did not get the level of care or service they deserved, the unit overall provided good standards of clinical care, treatment and outcomes for the children under its care.

Cononley campaigner Lois Brown, whose daughter Amelie was treated at the unit, said: “We welcome the recent report into the mortality data which finds the Leeds unit to be safe and running well.

“We were saddened to hear that some families did not receive the level of emotional support they expected but can only comment that our family, along with thousands of other families in our region, have always received an extremely high level of care, compassion and support from all the members of staff we have come into contact with at some of the most stressful moments of our lives.

“Congenital heart disease is a very cruel and complex condition which requires clinicians to deliver devastating news and options to both prospective and new parents. It should not be forgotten that it is the defects themselves that deny children a healthy childhood rather than the medical staff who strive so hard to give them a chance and a high quality of life.

“Our daughter Amelie has had three open-heart surgeries in Leeds and is due to have her fourth, at the age of six, in the summer of 2014. We are extremely comforted and happy that this surgery will take place in Leeds.”

Silsden woman Kirsty Whitaker, whose seven-year-old son Joseph was treated at the unit soon after birth, said she had never lost faith in the unit.

Mrs Whitaker said: “Because of the nature of the work at the unit there are bound to be families that are unhappy.”

She believed the unit’s reputation would benefit from recent pioneering medical treatments carried out by surgeons.

She said: “It’s all looking positive and it can only bode well for the future.”

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