New standards for heart surgery set out by NHS

Share this article
Have your say

Health chiefs have unveiled details of key standards hospitals will be expected to meet to provide care for children and adults born with heart problems.

The move follows the collapse last year of highly-controversial changes which would have seen surgery axed in Leeds for hundreds of youngsters each year from Yorkshire, forcing them to travel further afield for treatment.

The new standards set out how services should be organised and delivered to achieve the highest quality for patients.

Hospitals will provide 24/7 services employing a minimum of four surgeons who must carry out 125 operations each year.

Latest figures for 2012-13 reveal 510 paediatric cardiac procedures were carried out in Leeds - the seventh highest out of 10 centres in the country - with a further 240 performed on adults with congenital heart disease - the second highest in England.

Centres that meet service and quality standards due to be implemented from 2016 will remain open, while those which cannot will close.

Jackie Cornish, of NHS England, said: “Our aim is to ensure a high standard of service is sustainable for future generations of children.”

Parent Steph Ward, of Chapel Allerton, Leeds, whose son Lyall has undergone 23 operations in the city including heart surgery, said: “I hope all 10 centres stay open and reach the standards required. This consultation is a consultation rather than something with a set of preconceived ideas - it doesn’t feel like them and us, it feels like people working together.”

Sharon Cheng, of the Leeds-based Children’s Heart Surgery Fund charity, said the draft standards took into account some of its “fundamental concerns” about the previous review.

A 12-week consultation is now underway. A roadshow drop-in will visit Leeds on November 3.

Surgeon Ms Besarovic and the dangerous ball-bearings.

Surgeon's warning over ball-bearing craze after Yorkshire children hospitalised