Last Chance To Have Say On Heart Unit

A major NHS consultation to help shape the future of children’s congenital heart services closes today.

Nearly 60,000 parents, children and health professionals around the country have been having their say in how services should be provided in the future. 


The Safe and Sustainable consultation asked for views on the proposals to make services safe and sustainable for the future by having fewer, larger centres of expertise and creating congenital heart networks to provide care closer to home. 

This could mean units like the one at Southampton General being closed. There's been a big campaign by parents unhappy about this, as this

Teresa Moss, Director of the National Specialised Commissioning Team, expressed her thanks to everyone who had taken part in the consultation:

“While the case for change is widely supported by medical experts, the NHS fully recognises these are not easy decisions. I would like to thank everyone for contributing to the consultation and for people’s comments and suggestions on how best to provide these vital services. No decisions will be made until all the evidence submitted during consultation has been thoroughly reviewed and analysed.  Above all the NHS wants to ensure it makes the right decision for children with congenital heart disease in the future.”

Over the coming months responses to the consultation will be analysed by an independent, expert third party.

The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts – the decision making body – will consider the feedback carefully and consider other relevant evidence.  Additional information will be considered by the Joint Committee including detailed analysis from the Health Impact Assessment work, results from testing families’ travel patterns validated procedure numbers and Trusts’ detailed capacity planning information. In addition, an independent panel will consider the potential impact of the proposals on related services at the Royal Brompton Hospital and will provide advice to the Joint Committee.

People have shared their views in a wide variety of ways:

·         24,202 hard copy response forms:

·         13,645 online response forms

·         21,230 text messages

·         234 letters

·         8 petitions

·         2,086 people attended 16 consultation events, including three workshops specifically for young people

·         31 focus groups with parents, children and BAME groups

·         8 Health Impact Assessment  workshops, supplemented by additional phone interviews and family groups

The JCPCT is expected to make a final decision by the end of 2011. Implementation of any changes to children’s congenital heart services is expected to start in 2013.  A detailed implementation plan will be developed once a decision has been made.

So far, responses to the consultation (via hard copy and online response forms) across the country is:

Region
 Online
 Paper
 Grand Total
 
CHANNEL ISLANDS
 16
 69
 85
 
EAST MIDLANDS
 3037
 10436
 13473
 
EAST OF ENGLAND
 331
 318
 649
 
LONDON
 1033
 599
 1632
 
NORTH EAST
 1223
 207
 1430
 
NORTH WEST
 255
 153
 408
 
SCOTLAND
 38
 50
 88
 
SOUTH CENTRAL
 3933
 4200
 8133
 
SOUTH EAST COAST
 477
 764
 1241
 
SOUTH WEST
 890
 1228
 2118
 
WALES
 45
 48
 93
 
WEST MIDLANDS
 232
 417
 649
 
YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER
 834
 1999
 2833
 

Support for having fewer larger children’s heart surgery centres remains very strong. The British Heart Foundation, the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the British Congenital Cardiac Association, the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery, Little Hearts Matter, the Children’s Heart Federation and other organisations support the need for change.

The options for reconfiguring the service are:

Option A

Seven surgical centres at:

o        Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

o        Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool

o        Glenfield Hospital, Leicester

o        Birmingham Children's Hospital

o        Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

o        2 centres in London

Option B

Seven surgical centres at:

o        Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

o        Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool

o        Birmingham Children's Hospital

o        Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

o        Southampton General Hospital

o        2 centres in London

Option C

Six surgical centres at:

o        Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

o        Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool

o        Birmingham Children's Hospital

o        Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

o        2 centres in London

Option D

Six surgical centres at:

o        Leeds General Infirmary

o        Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool

o        Birmingham Children's Hospital

o        Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

o        2 centres in London

For background information on the review and the process for delivering the recommendations please go to: www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/safeandsustainable

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