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Independent Reconfiguration Panel

The Secretary of State for Health has announced that the Safe and Sustainable process for the reconfiguration of the children’s cardiac surgical centres be suspended and that the decision made over the centres therefore falls.  This is as a result of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel’s (IRP) report to the Sec of State stating that there were some flaws in the decision making process.  It is quite right of course that if a process is considered flawed that there must be further consideration.  The IRP however did confirm that there was a strong case for change and in the responses in the House to questions to the Sec of State he confirmed that the number of children’s cardiac surgical centres will reduce and that there was a difficult decision still to be made.  The IRP also made the point that adult congenital surgery should have also been considered at the same time, something which The Somerville Foundation had campaigned for right from the start. It is a huge problem that this process will now take even more time but the determination stated by both the Sec of State and Shadow Sec of State that this process must be continued and a difficult decision made, in an usually cooperative non Party political manner, gives us great hope that we will have a better national service for all with congenital heart disease in England in the, relatively, near future and that we must be positive about.


I can confirm that NHS England have already been in contact with me about the way forward which I take as another sign that there is a determination to see this through and to do so in close consultation with the national congenital heart charities. I am sure that those with whom I am working at the NHS have only the best outcome in their sights and they are working very hard to make sure that this process succeeds in delivering a better long-term national service.


Michael Cumper

Chairman TSF

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