*Update from NHS England 30 November 2017*
NHS England's Board has endorsed a proposal regarding the commissioning of congenital heart disease (CHD) services in England.
Read our response to the decision from Bob Bell, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust chief executive.
We strongly opposed NHS England's initial plan, for a number of reasons.
It does not improve patient care
It does not make sense to try and improve standards by closing one of the biggest and best CHD services in the UK. NHS England has not been able to explain how its plan will improve the care that our patients receive.
There is absolutely no evidence that the co-location of children’s services improves patient care, and many doctors consider it unnecessary in the 21st century digital age.
It will disrupt vital research
Royal Brompton is internationally recognised as a world-leading centre for research into new treatments for CHD in adults.
Closing our CHD service would put all this at risk, dismantling expert teams that work well together and produce a great deal of vital, life-changing research. It would hinder the search for better treatments and put the UK’s status as world leader in this field in jeopardy.
Find out more about our research into adult CHD.
It will have a significant impact on other vital services
If this plan went ahead, it would potentially also force a range of interdependent lung and heart disease services at Royal Brompton to close. These include our services for paediatric cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and severe asthma.
NHS England has been unable to explain where the tens of thousands of patients affected would be treated if not at Royal Brompton.
Find out more about how other services will be affected.
It will have significant cost implications
At a time when the NHS is desperately trying to save money, it is likely that this plan will cost the NHS millions of pounds.
NHS England has been unable to explain how using so much financial resource and causing so much upheaval and uncertainty for patients and staff, will in any way make things better.
Clinical staff may leave the NHS
Royal Brompton is proud to employ some of the best doctors and nurses in the country.
NHS England suggests that the employment of these staff would simply be transferred to other hospitals if Royal Brompton’s CHD services were to end.
We believe there is a considerable risk that many staff may not wish to be sent to another hospital, and may instead decide to leave the NHS altogether.