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NHS England decision released

We are pleased that the NHS England Board has now made its decision about the future of congenital heart services in England and Wales so there is a greater degree of clarity and certainty.

A decision was necessary as the new standards, written by a group consisting of all sectors of the medical experts in our field as well as patient representatives, showed that to provide a world class service for this highly specialised area there needed to be some change.  The consultation, which followed the suggestions for change, leading to the decision was a long and sometimes difficult process; however, it was necessary to enable all views to be considered. Thank you to all our patients, relatives and supporters who contributed to the discussions and gave feedback to help inform the final decision.

Now we have a decision, we will be working with everyone concerned to ensure that patients receive the best possible service both now and in the future. Please be reassured that where there are to be changes, mainly in the North West, these will not take place immediately and there will not be an immediate change to the care you receive. There will be an implementation period when necessary planning and preparation will take place.

We welcome the new partnership between Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and King’s Health Partners (the Academic Health Sciences Centre comprising Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts and King’s College London). The Somerville Foundation will be happy support the development of the service and once completed this will be a very significant world centre for congenital heart disease.

We welcome the decision to provide Leicester the time to achieve the surgical numbers that it has demonstrated are available to it. The Board have given them the time they asked for.

The decision to cease Level 1 (surgical) services at Manchester is unlikely to be a surprise to anyone.  We will of course be working with the new service in Liverpool and helping to ensure a smooth transition and we very much welcome the statement by the Board that a Level 2 Centre needs to be maintained in Manchester.

The continuation of services in Newcastle was imperative for those who need advance heart failure services and transplant and it is also welcomed.

We now move to a period where we will be very busy reviewing the progress that needs to be made based upon these decisions to ensure that services achieve what we have been promised. The Board made it clear that they would be expecting to review this.

This is a good day for adult congenital heart services, we are still a long way from having everything resolved but this sets out a clear pathway.

If there are any comments, suggestions or concerns, as ever, we would welcome hearing them.
We look forward to working with patients, relatives, carers and professionals to continue to build a world class congenital heart service.

Trustees of the Somerville Foundation.

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