East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre to be shut down

By Holly Hume

NHS England will be closing the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre this June unless the current public consultation proves that the centre can reach NHSE targets.

The centre was informed last year that they did not have the necessary number of surgeons, cases per year or have their children’s heart services on the same site as other children’s specialist services which are three requirements of the NHSE.

Will Huxter, Regional Director of Specialised Commissioning (London Region) from NHSE in a letter to UHL said, “We are taking these steps because we believe that they are in the best interests of patients with congenital heart disease and their families, including those yet to be diagnosed who will need these services in future.”

The matter has now gone to a pre-consultation period between University Hospitals Leicester and NHS England.

John Adler, chief executive of UHL, in a letter to NHSE said, “If intelligent commissioning of this kind is not within the remit of NHS England, we fail to see what value you add other than to arbitrarily ratify standards irrespective of the consequences.”

UHL believes that should the Congenital Heart centre be closed; the consequences shall be far reaching.

“Taken together, the two Leicester units provide 30% of the PICU capacity across Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham; close one and destabilise the other, and even assuming a bed in the region can be found, more children and their families will have to travel further to support one another in a time of crisis.”

With regards to the requirements laid out by the NHSE, the centre will have by projection the required number of cases and the staff there believe that their surgeons do have enough experience from the cases they already handle.

In effect, the centre’s unplanned re-operation rates and same day cancellation dates within 30 days are better than the national average, with patient and family satisfaction rates increased to 99% over one year.

Mr Adler added, “We are confident that our clinical outcomes are now amongst the best in the country. We have invested in our people and our infrastructure and we have a vision to take the service to the next level within a new children’s hospital.”

To support the ‘Hold on to our Hearts’ campaign follow the NHS on Twitter or email them at communications@uhl-tr.nhs.uk.

To find out more visit the NHS website http://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/aboutus/hold-on-to-our-hearts/.

 

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