The concerns raised by the Healthcare Commission report into Birmingham Children’s Hospital show how an unplanned and unfunded national drift of children’s surgery from local hospitals to specialist centres is causing poor access to high quality care for patient.
There needs to be clarity about which cases should be treatable at local hospitals and which should go to specialist centres.
In many cases children are being sent hundreds of miles to receive minor surgery which would be far better treated in properly equipped local hospitals. The knock on effect is that specialist units are being overwhelmed with minor cases which detracts them from caring for children with rare and life-threatening conditions.
A long-term solution to planning for paediatric services will be required if we are not to see further hospitals with similar problems.