Statement urging a swift response into implementation of congenital heart standards

News statement: 22 July 2015

Children’s heart charity urges swift implementation of congenital heart standards warning of unstable heart services for children

The Children’s Heart Federation hopes that the new congenital heart care standards and service specifications will be agreed by the NHS England Board tomorrow (23 July 2015).  The new standards have been recognised nationally as the only way to ensure the safe provision of care for children born with a heart condition.

The current service varies across the country and occasional practice still exists (small volumes of surgery and interventional cardiology undertaken in units that do not offer  expertise in the field). The formation of regional multi-centre networks, hosted by a specialist surgical centre, offers the expert service needed.  It will ensure that all clinicians caring for patients with congenital heart disease have and maintain the skills needed to offer patients  not only life but a good quality of life.

Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive, Children’s Heart Federation, says:

“We look forward to the implementation of the new standards and specifications.  However, during this interim period, we have concerns that the service will go backwards before it goes forward – feedback from our network of specialist groups and heart parents already tells us this is happening in parts of the country. Some surgeons have left their posts and not been replaced leaving a vulnerable service alongside the growing waiting lists for this life-saving surgery.  We urge swift action on the new care standards to ensure a safe and sustainable congenital heart service.”

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Further information:

Emma Pelling, T. 020 7624 7533 M. 07958 558172 Twitter: @chfed

Notes to Editors:

The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is the UK’s leading children’s heart charity and an umbrella organisation for 21 member groups who support heart children and their families. CHF supports families through its information service, small grant programmes, 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.

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