Jeremy Hunt 'should release' data on heart surgery, says Leicester West MP Liz Kendall
A city MP has criticised Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for failing to release information on children's heart surgery services.
Leicester West MP Liz Kendall asked Mr Hunt in January to ensure information from the Central Cardiac Audit Database was released so expert analysis could be conducted into survival rates at English hospitals – including Glenfield – which carry out surgery on children born with heart problems.
Ms Kendall, a shadow health minister, wanted the information so the study could be carried out by Professor Brian Jarman, from Imperial College, London.
Ms Kendall, who is campaigning to save children's heart surgery at Glenfield, said: "Prof Jarman is one of the country's leading experts on hospital death rates.
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"He has twice asked for the data on children's heart surgery so he can conduct a full analysis into which units have the best outcomes.
"All the evidence must be thoroughly assessed before any final decision is taken about the future of children's heart surgery services."
Ms Kendall has written to Mr Hunt asking him to make sure the Health Quality Improvement Partnership makes the information available.
An NHS review last year decided to cut the number of the hospitals providing surgery for children born with heart defects from 11 to seven.
Glenfield's service is one of four earmarked for closure.
The proposal is also being reviewed by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which is due to report Mr Hunt by March 28.
Giles Peek, a children's heart surgery consultant at Glenfield, said: "We all know parents consider quality to be a priority and we encourage any moves to make outcome data more meaningful for them.
"This is particularly relevant now because the quality score used in the national review did not consider survival rates or any other measure most people associate with quality."
A Department of Health spokesman said: "We fully support the sharing of national clinical audit data wherever possible, but it must be in a responsible way within the appropriate legal framework.
"In this case, the Health Quality Improvement Partnership withheld access to the national cardiac data because it was concerned the way Imperial College wanted to use it could lead to individual patients being identified.
"We've urged both sides to work together to find a way of sharing the data within the law."