Statement - Safe and Sustainable High Court Decision of 27/03/2013

Yesterday the Court recognised the need for the NHS to continue its plan to improve services for children with congenital heart disease in order to ensure that services are safe and sustainable in the future, however the judge did rule that one part of the process was ‘unfair’.   While CHF acknowledge the Court’s decision we are disappointed that uncertainty regarding the future of clinical services for children and young people with congenital heart disease will continue and the delay to the much needed changes.

At CHF we recognise the right of parents and clinicians to support their local unit, however, we need to remember that the overwhelming majority: all the medical Royal Colleges, professional associations, NHS staff and national parent groups support the new standards upon which the changes to the existing children’s heart services are based.

This is a national programme designed to improve the existing service in order to ensure that all children and young people have access to excellent services; which is not the case at the moment.

As we await the final decision we are contacted by parents from  across the country who are concerned with delays in the treatment and ongoing care of their heart children and fear that their children may suffer serious harm or die as a result of delays in the existing system.

We urge all involved in this process to put heartchildren first and lay any vested interests aside. We call for strong leadership amongst clinicians and commissioners to ensure the earliest possible implementation of the Safe and Sustainable Standards.

We would remind all who are reading this that we speak for parents across the country, many of whom rely on CHF to voice their opinions, because they do not wish to face the intimidation and harassment from some of the local groups. We do not speak for the NHS so if you wish to read their view please go to: http://www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/news/view/141