Greg Mulholland, Member of Parliament for Leeds North West, has expressed a region's outrage at the sudden announcement that children's heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary is to be suspended just 24 hours the High Court ruled that the decision to propose closure of the unit had been unlawful.
Campaigners only yesterday, 27th March, were celebrating the ruling that confirmed the decision by the Joint Primary Care Trust (JCPT) in 2012 to close the Leeds unit had been made illegally yet the day after, it is understood that NHS medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh along with other senior members of NHS England and the Care Quality Commission, arrived at Leeds General Infirmary on the morning of Thursday 28th of March to demand that, with immediate effect, children's heart surgery should cease.
Once surgery ceased NHS England issued a statement praising Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust for suspending the surgery.
Greg Mulholland MP comments:
"I am stunned and appalled by the extraordinary intervention by the medical director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh and the Care Quality Commission to force suspension of children's heart surgery in Leeds just a day after the courts confirmed the decision of the proposed closure was deemed as illegal.
"This smacks of the extraordinary arrogance displayed throughout this process by an unelected committee who have consistently failed to justify their decision making, have refused to share information with those who have the duty to hold them to account and have sought to manipulate the facts to suit their preferences and bias.
"To have arrived in Leeds and done this, without warning, just one day after the decision to close the Leeds unit was proved in a court of law to have been unlawful beggars belief; to do it the day before a double bank holiday weekend when parliament is in recess is both revealing and scandalous. Many people believe that this is just a cynical attempt to circumvent the clear ruling of the court and the concern is for the children lined up for surgery and the distress this will cause them and their families.
"I demand that Sir Bruce come to Leeds to face a special committee of MP's and councillors next week to explain the reasons for this extraordinary act. The timing clearly suggests he and the JCPCT think that yet again they can duck democratic scrutiny.
"This is yet another example the chronic lack of accountability in the NHS, with unelected officials thinking they are immune to proper scrutiny.
"I believe that Sir Bruce Keogh should resign as he has both authorised this wholly unreasonable and deeply questionable action and also presided over the fundamentally flawed Safe and Sustainable review, which has proved an exercise in how not to effect major change to the NHS; and for presiding over an illegal decision, Sir Neil McKay, Chair of the JCPCT should also resign, having forced through a unlawful decision in this way and being responsible for wasting huge amounts of precious taxpayers resources as a result. Neither should play any further part in reconfiguration of the NHS.
"The Save Our Surgery campaign will no doubt be urgently reviewing these latest events and I intend to continue giving them my full support and this disgraceful incident has to be investigated as a matter of urgency".