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NHS England outlines future of congenital heart disease services

30 Nov 2017

NHS England has today announced a reconfiguration of congenital heart disease services in England. This follows a consultation on how new quality standards for hospitals providing congenital heart disease services, published in 2015, would be put in place. 

In a joint statement, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery said:

“The Royal College of Surgeons and the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery remain strongly supportive of NHS England’s standards to improve the care for patients with congenial heart disease across their lifetimes. This includes improving antenatal diagnosis, surgery, medical management and dealing with bereavement. It is good news that the reconfiguration of services is finally moving forward.

“These changes should have happened decades ago. The endless delays to a decision being made on this reconfiguration has caused great uncertainty to all of the hospitals involved, their staff and the children they care for.

“Currently, some smaller teams are very stretched in their ability to provide a comprehensive 24/7 service and to develop sustainably. It is fundamentally important that specialist surgical centres are large enough and treat patients regularly enough to develop full expertise to treat all conditions. It is vital that centres have adequate resources to support patients with increasingly complex needs, especially access to paediatric intensive care beds.”

“It’s vital centres are properly staffed to provide on-call rotas and teams have the time to create a supportive environment where new techniques are shared and future specialists can learn.”

“The reconfiguration of services announced today will take us an important step closer to ensuring that every patient across the country has access to high quality care.” 

Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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