Leading Children’s Heart Charity welcomes the end to long period of uncertainty for families

Leading Children’s Heart Charity welcomes the end to long period of uncertainty for families


For immediate release


The Children’s Heart Federation, the UK’s leading children’s heart charity, welcomes the prospect tomorrow of an end to the uncertainty about which units will continue to provide children’s heart surgery.


The long-awaited final decision of the Safe and Sustainable Review into children’s heart services is due tomorrow on Wednesday 4th July.


Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF said, “Since the Bristol baby tragedy in the early 1990’s in which 35 babies died and dozens more were left brain damaged  we have been campaigning for children’s heart surgery be carried out only in highly specialist centres.


“We strongly support the new standards of care that have been developed by leading experts in paediatric cardiology which will ensure better quality care for all children with congenital or acquired heart disease nationally. The standards state that in order to ensure the highest quality care of children needing heart surgery, surgeons need to work in teams of four with each surgeon undertaking a minimum of 100 operations each.


0f course some parents have strong loyalty to the unit where their child has been treated and so have supported the option that they feel gives that unit the best chance of continuing to offer surgery. However CHF believes that it is vital that the decision regarding the reconfiguration should be based on the creation of a national service with clear managed networks rather than the continuation of the present regionally-based surgical services with ad hoc referral pathways.


“Once the decision is reached tomorrow we urge everyone concerned with the care of children with congenital and acquired heart disease to pull together to ensure the standards are implemented as soon as possible.  It is important that all parents and the NHS work together to ensure that the changes are implemented quickly, safely and effectively to ensure that we can look to a future of excellent care for all our children”.




Media enquiries to: Danny Beales     Mobile: 07791 254 187

Email: dannyb@chfed.org.uk    Office: 020 7422 0630


Notes to editors:


1. The Safe and Sustainable review of children’s congenital heart services in England began in 2008 and recommended a new set of national quality standards. An expert independent panel carried out an assessment of the quality of existing centres. The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) conducted a national consultation on proposed options for reconfiguring services.  More information about Safe and Sustainable is available at http://www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/safe_sustainable/childrens-congenital-cardiac-services


2.  The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is the UK’s leading children’s heart charity and an umbrella organisation for 23 member groups which support heart children and their families. CHF supports families through its information service, small grants programme, peer support events and provision of equipment. The charity also lobbies for changes to the health, social care and education systems for the benefit of heart families (see www.chfed.org.uk).                                      


3. We can arrange interviews with a representative of the Children’s Heart Federation.  

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