Tyne & Wear

Freeman Hospital to continue performing child heart surgeries

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Media captionThe Freeman Hospital was one of six hospitals in England under threat

The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle will continue to perform child heart surgery operations.

It was one of six hospitals in England under threat after an NHS review claimed expertise was being spread too thinly.

Patients using Leeds General Infirmary will now have to travel to Newcastle for treatment.

However the Leeds centre will continue seeing patients for diagnosis, monitoring and non-surgical treatment.

Chief Executive Sir Leonard Fenwick said of the decision: "Let's go from strength to strength."

Out of the ten hospitals offering the service in England, the units at Leicester, Leeds and London's Royal Brompton hospitals will cease performing the surgeries so care can be concentrated at fewer, larger sites to improve standards.

Dr Richard Kirk, a consultant at the hospital, said: "This is fantastic news, the staff are all delighted. We're so thrilled and we're looking forward to carrying on our work now and making everyone better."

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