In the light of today’s ruling on the Judicial Review of the Safe and Sustainable Children’s Cardiac Review, CHF, the UK’s leading children’s heart charity, urges everyone affected by the decision to keep children with heart conditions and their families in the forefront of their thinking and push forward until new service standards for paediatric cardiac care are fully implemented.
“Delay in deciding which units will continue to provide surgery will cause enormous angst for parents,” declares Vashti MacDonald-Clink, whose daughter was treated at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
Mrs MacDonald-Clink continues, “I’m eternally grateful that my daughter’s cardiac surgeon did an excellent job. And, looking forward, all I want to know is if she needs further surgery, she sees someone highly competent. I don’t care where that is and, having followed the Safe and Sustainable review closely, I’m convinced it’s more important to design a truly national service of the highest quality than for the current units to be vying to protect their own interests. I say ‘remember the babies and children in this and put them even above your own professional interests or protecting the reputation for excellence of your unit’.”
CHF has supported the aims of the Safe and Sustainable review since it started in 2008, because of its mandate from parents to campaign for the introduction of high standards of care identified as severely lacking since the Bristol Baby Tragedy in the 1980s and ‘90s.
“Only last week I took a call from a Dad whose young child’s operation had been cancelled for the third time, this time when the child had already been prepped for surgery,” comments Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF. “We must move forward as quickly as we can to ensure that all units are able to offer a 24 hour service, seven days a week, because at the moment there’s not the staff capacity to cope with emergency and planned operations at every centre.”
CHF remains impartial as to which of the current surgical centres should continue to provide surgery in the future. The charity does support having two rather than three centres in London as having three surgical units in the capital would reduce the viability of centres in other parts of England.
“We are convinced that reorganising children’s heart care along the lines proposed by the Safe and Sustainable review would lead to a better quality of service across the country,” declares Mrs Keatley-Clarke. “We would expect to see the quality of surgery rise, the number of cancelled and delayed operations fall, and a much stronger network of care to support children and their families close to home. These are goals worth striving for and we urge everyone to press forward to achieve them.”
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Notes to Editors:
1) We can provide interviews on the topics covered in this news release.
2) The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is the UK’s leading children’s heart charity and an umbrella organisation for 21 member groups which support heart children and their families. CHF supports families through its information service, small grants programme, peer support events and provision of equipment. The charity also lobbies for changes to the health, social care and education systems for the benefit of heart families (see www.chfed.org.uk).