Review of children's heart surgery services - RCPCH responds
In a letter to The Times, RCPCH President Dr Hilary Cass summarises the College's response to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's announcement this week regarding the Safe and Sustainable Review of children's heart surgery. The Independent Review Panel will investigate the concerns of two health scrutiny committees on the impact of the proposed changes.
It is not unreasonable for the Secretary of State to seek a review of such an important decision but as frontline professionals we remain of the view that there are currently too many small heart surgery units with low levels of staff. This means resources are spread too thinly, and surgeons aren’t gaining the invaluable experience that comes from seeing a variety of patients. This isn’t good for children and is neither safe nor sustainable. We hope that the panel will be guided by what is in the best interests of patients and be resolute in keeping the politics of this, regardless of how intractable, at a safe distance.
Dr Hilary Cass
President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
The letter sits alongside one from Sir Neil McKay Chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts who carried out the Safe and Sustainable review. He argues:
'Children’s heart services need to be changed urgently so that more children’s lives can be saved. We will work closely with the Independent Reconfiguration Panel as it reviews our decision, and we will also defend our process with confidence against the second legal challenge regrettably brought by a campaign group on behalf of a hospital in Leeds.'
See letters page in The Times: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article3579553.ece [subscriber only content]
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