NEWS RELEASE - “12 YEAR DELAY IN REFORMING HEART SURGERY IS COSTING CHILDREN’S LIVES” SAYS CHARITY

 

“12 YEAR DELAY IN REFORMING HEART SURGERY IS COSTING CHILDREN’S LIVES” SAYS CHARITY

The UK’s leading children’s heart charity says children’s lives are being put at risk because of monumental delays in reforming England’s heart surgery services.

The Children’s Heart Federation is urging NHS England to “be brave” and implement the new standards of care resulting from the Safe and Sustainable Review completed a year ago.

The charity recognises that the recommendation to create larger but fewer surgical centres is, in some parts of the country, controversial, however – larger teams of surgeons are needed to ensure children can have complex life-saving surgery 24 hours/ 7 days a week.

CHF warn that the effect of Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt’s decision will further delay the implementation of these changes and add to the immense strain that the life-saving service is currently experiencing.

Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF says: “For the past 12 years, ever since the Bristol Baby Tragedy, we’ve been campaigning to ensure that another crisis in the care of vulnerable children can never be allowed to happen again.

“As this review was clinician-led and the recommendations were agreed by their professional bodies and many parent groups.  It has been really disappointing to see the implementation of the necessary improvements delayed. We want all heart-children, wherever they live in England to have access to an excellent service.

“NHS England is a new body tasked to modernise the health service to secure the best possible health outcomes. We ask them to remember that this is a national service so they should take account of, but not to give undue weight to local opinion in order to provide an equitable and excellent service for every heart child wherever they live in England.

“We urge NHS England to be brave and implement the standards proposed in the Safe and Sustainable programme to put an end to the preventable risk to children’s lives who undergo heart surgery”.

Ends

Contact for general media enquiries:

Rohini Simbodyal, Policy and Communications Manager at Children’s Heart Federation telephone: 0207 442 0630/ 07543 244 266 or email: rohinis@chfed.org.uk

Notes for 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).