The Royal College of Surgeons and the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery are strongly supportive of the commissioning standards published last year for fetal, paediatric and adult congenital heart disease.
Responding to plans for heart surgery announced by NHS England today, a statement from both organisations said:
“Nationwide changes to the way we care for patients undergoing congenital heart surgery have been sorely needed and slow to happen. Improvements required in children’s heart surgery were highlighted when the Bristol Royal Infirmary public inquiry reported as long ago as 2001.
“We fully support these standards. NHS England must ensure that the standards are applied for the benefit of patients, by ensuring that expertise is concentrated where it is most appropriate. The proposals put forward by NHS England today should improve patient outcomes and help address the variations in care currently provided.
“It is fundamentally important that specialist surgical centres are large enough and treat patients regularly enough to develop full expertise to treat all conditions. It’s vital they are properly staffed to provide on-call rotas and teams have the time to create a supportive environment where new techniques are shared and future specialists can learn.”