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RCS statement: College welcomes NCEPOD call for networked organisation of care for children

26 October 2011

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) fully supports the recommendation that national guidance should be given to all UK hospitals to form integrated networks for providing surgery for children.

The latest report from the National Confidential Patient Enquiry of Patient Outcome & Death (NCEPOD), Are we there yet? echoes guidance on networks for paediatric general surgery produced by the RCS in 2010. While this has been taken up by some regions of the UK, progress has been slow and there is a need for greater impetus.

Recommendations regarding the consent process and providing information for patients and parents is strongly supported by the College. RCS guidelines clearly state that obtaining consent should involve dialogue between the surgeon and the patient and family, where information about the procedure and its associated risks are discussed so that those involved are given adequate time to make fully informed decisions about their care. Consent is very much a process, not an event.

The recommendation that guidance should be developed for children that require end-of-life care after surgery is noted by the RCS and we look forward to ways of working in partnership with the relevant bodies to achieve this.

Professor Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“This important new report from NCEPOD demonstrates clearly the need for better organisation in how hospitals manage care for children. The move to specialisation in paediatric surgery for rarer conditions has had a significant positive impact over the past two decades, but the way the NHS is organised has failed to catch up. We must find a way of maintaining and improving services for more common forms of surgery in local hospitals – this report points out what needs to be addressed.”

Su Anna Boddy, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, RCS Council member and Chair of the Children’s Surgical Forum, said:

“The clear road for improvement in surgery for children lies in establishing networks that enable surgeons to support services in local hospitals and provide seamless lines of communication and transfer so every child gets treated in the right place for them and their families. The RCS has provided practical guidance on how to do this and we very much hope that this report from NCEPOD persuades the NHS that the time to act is now.”

The RCS guidance (Ensuring the provision of general paediatric surgery in the district general hospital: Guidance to commissioners and service planners) on is available from the RCS website.

ENDS-

Notes to Editor:

1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808. For more information please visit www.rcseng.ac.uk.

2. If you have any queries please contact:

Matthew Worrall – Email: mworrall@rcseng.ac.uk; T: 020 7869 6047

Elaine Towell – Email: etowell@rcseng.ac.uk; T: 020 7869 6045

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