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Response to report into public consultation on children’s heart surgery


24 August 2011


A Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said:

"We are not surprised by Ipsos MORI’s report on the consultation into the future of children’s heart surgery in England. None of the four options put forward for public consultation by The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) included Royal Brompton and as a result people have had scant opportunity to express their preference for keeping children’s heart

surgery at Royal Brompton.


"The vast majority of respondents are from outside London, in areas affected by the review’s proposals and the report states that ‘…their responses have influenced the overall results.’ Where people have commented on Royal Brompton the report notes that 'The majority of comments were positive; in relation to the Royal Brompton these most commonly referred to the quality of care provided there…'.


"Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has been granted permission for a judicial review of the 'Safe and Sustainable' consultation. Although the decision to pursue legal action has been taken with the greatest reluctance and regret, we feel we have no alternative but to act in the interests of our patients. We have always supported the principle that all babies and children who undergo heart surgery deserve the best possible care, and that this is likely to be in larger centres. But what we cannot accept is that a large, successful centre like Royal Brompton is not even included as an option in the consultation process, despite it being of the required size and despite its impressive record."


The JCPCT released proposals in February to discontinue children’s heart surgery at Royal Brompton. This was despite a report that rated the hospital highly in a national assessment of all children’s heart surgery centres in England and an analysis showing that Royal Brompton undertook the necessary number of procedures, and had the required number of surgeons, to ensure a high quality service was maintained.


Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has been granted permission for a judicial review of the ‘Safe and Sustainable’ consultation on the future of children’s heart surgery in England. The Trust believes that the recommended options put to public consultation are fundamentally flawed, such that a consultation based on them is unlawful. Mr Justice Burnett granted permission for a judicial review later in the year, on all grounds advanced by the Trust.



Notes to editors:


  • Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is the largest specialist heart and lung centre in the UK and among the largest such centres in Europe. It operates two sites, Royal Brompton Hospital (the “Royal Brompton”) in Chelsea, West London and Harefield Hospital near Uxbridge. Royal Brompton has an international reputation for specialist paediatric services. Its performance is rated ‘excellent’ by the Care Quality Commission, and its record in children’s heart services is particularly strong. It is the third largest UK centre for paediatric cardiac surgery and the largest UK centre for congenital heart services.


  • Our experts promote the principle of ‘shared care’ and are involved in an expanding programme of outreach clinics, at which they see patients with paediatric colleagues at 30 hospitals across the South East, covering Essex, Sussex, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Middlesex. A complete range of paediatric services is also provided in collaboration with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and collaboration with colleagues is supported by a series of ‘virtual’ telemedicine clinics through which expert opinion is available when needed, around the clock. Royal Brompton is also a partner in the Children’s Emergency Transport Service (CATS) with St Mary’s and Great Ormond Street.


  • Responding rapidly to critically ill children is part of the daily work of the paediatric team, which is a national specialist referral centre for children with heart and lung disorders – the largest in the country for those with heart rhythm problems.  Children come to us from all over the UK. Our multi-disciplinary team approach, involving cardiologists, surgeons, intensive care specialists, anaesthetists, specialist nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals, ensures our younger patients get the best possible care in a clean, safe environment. Our record in infection prevention and control is one of the best in the country.


  • The Trust is the largest centre in Europe for adult congenital heart disease and is a significant provider of fetal cardiology services, covering 10 per cent of all babies born in England.  The majority of these babies are referred by maternity hospitals across the UK, from the routine “20 week” ultrasound scan. Our clinicians work with experts in fetal medicine units at partner hospitals, to provide the best possible care for pregnant woman. Thus, the hospital offers a seamless transition of patients from fetal life through infancy, into childhood, adolescence and adulthood, providing the highest standards of care through all stages of life.


  • Royal Brompton experts sit on, and chair, international advisory panels and professional bodies, are keynote speakers at conferences throughout the world and share their knowledge through teaching both in the UK and abroad. They raise awareness of their profession, and of the high standard of paediatric care and expertise available in the NHS. Their research collaborations cross international boundaries.


  • The JCPCT was established in September 2010 by and on behalf of the 10 Specialised Commissioning Groups (“SCGs”) for England and their constituent Primary Care Trusts (“PCTs”).It was established as the body to conduct formal consultation in respect of the proposed reconfiguration of the provision of paediatric cardiac services in England. At the end of the consultation period, the JCPCT is due to make a final decision on the national reconfiguration of paediatric cardiac services in England.


For further information, please contact:

Jessica Mangold,

Head of Media Relations

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 020 7351 8672 (Brompton), Tel: 01895 823 837 ext: 5038 (Harefield)

Mobile: 07866 536 345

Email: J.Mangold@rbht.nhs.uk



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