On 9th February 2017, National Health Service (NHS) England launched a public consultation on how it will put in place new standards for hospitals providing services for patients with congenital heart disease in England.
The public consultation aims to gather as many views as possible from clinical experts, patients and families and will include face-to-face meetings around the country, webinars and an online survey. The consultation will runs for sixteen weeks from 9th February to 5th June 2017.
The consultation follows a new set of quality standards for all hospitals providing congenital heart disease, which was published in 2015. The standards were developed in conjunction with Royal Colleges, clinical experts from more than 15 hospitals, hundred of patients and their families. Currently, NHS England is looking for views and input on how the standards can be put into practice.
The standards set out the requirement for surgeons to do a minimum of 125 cases per year to ensure the best outcomes for patients. By April 2021, there should be a minimum of 3 surgeons in the team to cover the workload 24 hours a day, increasing to four surgeons per team.
The National Clinical Director for Heart Disease, Professor Huon Gray said that they have worked hard with clinical professional and patients to develop a set of standards to accomplish this, and heard clearly during this process that this would only be value something for patients if acted upon.
In a combined statement, the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Royal College of Surgeons said they fully support these standards. NHS England must guarantee that the standards are applied for the advantage of patients, by ensuring that expertise is focused where it is most suitable.
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