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NHS urges people across the North West to have their say on the future of children’s congenital heart services

The NHS has launched a major four month public consultation on the way children's congenital heart services should be provided in the future. The NHS is urging everyone with an interest in children's congenital heart services to take part in the consultation and have their say on these vital services. Full details are on our website: www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/safeandsustainable

The North West Congenital Cardiac Network provides cardiology and cardiac surgical services to patients right across the region as well as to residents of North Wales and the Isle of Man. Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust is the cardiac surgery centre for children in the region and features in all four of the options out for public consultation.

Alder Hey works in partnership with Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Royal Manchester Children's Hospital) as part of a managed clinical network. Clinicians from the two hospital trusts hold outreach clinics for patients in district general hospitals as far afield as Barrow, Rhyl, Crewe and Stockport.

A consultation event for parents, patients and the public will be in held at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington on Monday 9th May between 6pm and 9pm. Registration for this event is now open. To register please go to : https://www.eventsforce.net/safeandsustainable

Children's heart surgery is complex and becoming increasingly specialised. The NHS Safe and Sustainable review aims to improve outcomes for children with congenital heart disease by introducing new national quality standards, developing children's heart networks and pooling surgical expertise. Safe and Sustainable is proposing four options to reduce the number of hospitals providing children's heart surgery from 11 to six or seven to improve results for children. The review also proposes that many non-surgical services, such as diagnosis, assessments and ongoing care, are provided closer to families' homes.

Leslie Hamilton, Immediate Past President for the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery and Vice Chairman of the Safe and Sustainable Steering Group said: "This consultation is about improving the quality of care for children with congenital heart disease (CHD). We must concentrate surgical expertise in larger (and therefore fewer) centres to ensure we produce better outcomes for children and ensure services are safe and sustainable for the future. I urge patients and families to respond to the consultation. This is the most important opportunity people will have to directly influence the outcome of the consultation."

The NHS will be holding a series of consultation events across England and in Wales, including three events specifically for young people, so that the public can find out more about what the proposed changes may mean for the services in their region. Safe and Sustainable has also produced a video, available on the website, clearly communicating the aims of the review and featuring interviews with families of children who have CHD.

No decisions about the future of any of the existing surgical centres will be made until after the consultation. An independent third party will collate all the responses and a comprehensive analysis will be provided to the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, the decision making body for the Safe and Sustainable review, to help evaluate the four options. A decision on the future of children's congenital heart services is expected in late 2011. Those centres that are not chosen to continue to carry out surgery will not close. Instead, it is envisaged that they may become children's cardiology centres.

To access the online consultation document and to complete an electronic version of the response form please visit: www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/safeandsustainable

ENDS
 

The NHS will be holding consultation events in England and in Wales between March and June. North West event is:

Monday 9th May 2011 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm - Warrington

Halliwell Jones Stadium

The options for reconfiguring the service are:

Option A

Seven surgical centres at:

Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool

Glenfield Hospital, Leicester

Birmingham Children's Hospital

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

2 centres in London

Option B

Seven surgical centres at:

Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool

Birmingham Children's Hospital

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Southampton General Hospital

2 centres in London

Option C

Six surgical centres at:

Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool

Birmingham Children's Hospital

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

2 centres in London

Option D

Six surgical centres at:

Leeds General Infirmary

Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool

Birmingham Children's Hospital

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

2 centres in London

London

The preferred two London centres in the four options are:

Evelina Children's Hospital

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

For more information:

Jo Stringer, Head of Communications & Engagement, North West Specialised Commissioning Group

T: 01925 406017 or 07824 639605

E: jo.stringer@nwsct.nhs.uk

Notes to Editors:

1. The options were announced on 16th February at a meeting of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT), the decision-making body for Safe and Sustainable

2. The consultation will run until 1st July 2011.

3. Safe and Sustainable is being managed by NHS Specialised Services on behalf of the ten Specialised Commissioning Groups in England

4. Safe and Sustainable will be consulting on the following four key areas:

· Standards of care: the proposed national quality standards of care to be applied consistently across the country

· Congenital heart networks: the development of networks to co-ordinate care and ensure more local provision

· The options: the number and location of hospitals that provide children's heart surgical services in the future

· Better Monitoring: improvements for analysis and reporting of mortality and morbidity data

5. Safe and Sustainable recommendations have been agreed by a committee of NHS specialist commissioners from all areas across England, known as the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts

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