The NHS has announced that new congenital heart networks will be introduced across England and Wales to ensure safe and sustainable care for all children. On 4 July 2012 a Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts met in public to decide the future configuration of children’s congenital heart services. The JCPCT considered 12 options for change and decided that Option B would provide the best quality care. This will see congenital heart networks formally structured around Specialist Surgical Centres in Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton. Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and Evelina Children’s Hospital will lead the congenital heart networks in London and the South East.
The JCPCT also agreed 160 separate quality standards that must be met by children’s heart surgical centres in the future and new arrangements for collecting, analysing and reporting outcome data.
In the immediate future, expert surgeons will continue to perform surgical operations at at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, Leeds General Infirmary, and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. In the longer term, the NHS will transfer surgical services from these centres into the 7 surgical centres designated to lead the networks by 2014. More information is available here for parents of children with congenital heart disease who accessed surgical services at these centres.
The JCPCT carefully considered the responses to the public consultation and a number of publications before making its decision. An independent third party analysed the consultation responses and produced a comprehensive report, published on 24th August 2011, which is available here. Responses to public consultation by e-mail or post can be found here. The report is one of a number of publications that the JCPCT considered to help them evaluate the options and make a final decision on the best configuration for children's congenital heart services.
The JCPCT was provided with as much additional information as possible to inform its decision-making. This information included