The Children's Heart Federation (CHF) welcomes NHS England's decision to sharpen standards for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) services

At their meeting on Thursday 30 November 2017 the Board of NHS England discussed the outcome of the public consultation on proposed changes to paediatric cardiac services and decided the following:

  • The Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will provide level 1 adult CHD services in the North West;
  • The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust will provide level 1 CHD services;
  • They will back the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust’s proposal for developing a new joint unit with St Thomas’ and Guys;
  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will provide level 1 CHD services until at least March 2021.

Talking about the outcome of the consultation Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF commented, “We are really pleased that this period of uncertainty has reached its end. We hope this decision will mean that all those concerned with the care of patients with congenital heart disease can feel some sort of relief as we move forward to strengthening congenital heart services.”

Anne continues: “Congenital heart disease is a term which covers any heart abnormality present from birth. One in every 133 babies in the UK is born with a heart condition – over 5,000 babies per year. What is supposed to be the happiest time of a parent’s life can sometimes be the most heart-wrenching and stressful. We hope this decision by NHS England will bring some comfort as the clinical care and standards improve.”

Improvements in paediatric heart surgery and clinical care have led to more children with heart conditions surviving into adulthood. The number of adults with heart conditions is now increasing at an estimated rate of 5% per year. By implementing national service standards at every hospital providing CHD services, this rate will hopefully improve.

The Children’s Heart Federation is also campaigning for the introduction of Pulse Oximetry screening for all newborn babies in the UK. The test, measuring oxygen levels in the blood, is proven to be effective in detecting three quarters of congenital heart conditions. The Children’s Heart Federation is leading this campaign and pushing for its inclusion in the national screening programme of all newborns to ensure abnormalities are picked up sooner and therefore, more lives can be saved.

For further information about The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) please visit: http://www.chfed.org.uk