The Children’s Heart Federation, the UK’s leading children’s heart charity, has welcomed an end to the uncertainty about which units will continue to provide children’s heart surgery.
The decision by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) today which will see the children’s heart surgery units at Leicester, Royal Brompton, and Leeds no longer providing surgery with the creation of 7 specialist surgical centres and the implementation of new higher standards for the care of children with heart conditions.
The Children’s Heart Federation along with the medical professional associations have supported the development of these new standards
Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF commented, “We welcome the decision which we have now been waiting for for many years. The delays to planned improvements in children’s heart services caused a great deal of uncertainty for parents and professionals, so we are pleased for them that this has come to an end.”
The Safe and Sustainable review recommended a new set of national quality standards to ensure the highest quality of care. It included the requirement for each surgical unit to have 4 surgeons conducting between 400 and 500 operations per year, thereby ensuring the highest quality care of children needing heart surgery with around the clock care.
Ms Keatley-Clarke stated, “The implementation of these standards will ensure that surgeons operating on our children will be based in well resourced centres of excellence and are able to provide round the clock cover thereby making sure that all children can receive necessary surgical treatment in a timely manner.”
“The change will also result in better services closer to home through the development of other cardiology services closer to home in the new congenital heart networks where expertise and information is shared across hospitals.”
“We of course recognise that there will be some parents who are disappointed with the result today but we are urging everyone to put their past differences behind them in order to work together to provide all heart children with the safe, sustainable and excellent services they need and deserve.”
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Notes to editors:
1. 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).
2. The Safe and Sustainable review of children’s congenital heart services in England began in 2008 and recommended a new set of national quality standards. An expert independent panel carried out an assessment of the quality of existing centres. The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) conducted a national consultation on proposed options for reconfiguring services. More information about Safe and Sustainable is available at http://www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/safe_sustainable/childrens-congenital-cardiac-services
3. We can arrange interviews with a representative of the Children’s Heart Federation.