Public consultation event on plans to reorganise specialist heart surgery for Lincolnshire patients to be held today (Thursday) in Sleaford

The NHS was hit by a large-scale cyber attack on Friday - the effects of which are still being felt today.
The NHS was hit by a large-scale cyber attack on Friday - the effects of which are still being felt today.

A consultation event will be open to the public to ask questions and raise issues in Sleaford this afternoon (Thursday) about plans to reorganise specialist heart services in hospitals around the country.

In July 2016, NHS England published a set of proposals regarding the future of congenital heart disease (CHD) services for children and adults. They aim to ensure a consistent standard of care for CHD patients across the country, for now and for the future.

They aim to implement national service standards at every hospital that provides CHD services. The effect of the proposals, if implemented, would see some hospitals carrying out more CHD surgery and catheter procedures with more staff focussed in these specialised locations, while others, which do not meet the relevant standards, will stop doing this work. Among those expected not to continue is University Hospitals of Leicester, which serves Lincolnshire patients as the nearest specialist heart centre for hereditary heart defects and defects discover before or after birth. Patients would instead go to hospitals in Birmingham or Leeds under the proposals. Other treatment for children and adults could still happen at Leicester. Changes are expected to take place in early 2018.

NHS England officials accept some patients will travel further for their hospital treatment and operations but insist it will mean those hospitals are achieving the right standards. There have been concerns by some hospital campaigners that the added travelling distance will have a greater impact on families having to take children for heart operations.

The public meeting on the proposals being held as part of a nationwide consultation exercise by NHS England will be from 1-3pm at the New Life Centre, Sleaford.

The NHS England panel for the event will consist of NHS England representatives including, Professor Huon Gray, Consultant Cardiologist and National Clinical Director for Heart Disease, and Ruth Ashmore, Assistant Director of Specialised Commissioning, East of England.

Professor Huon Gray, National Clinical Director for Heart Disease, said: “We all want to ensure that patients’ care is as good as it can possibly be - that’s why these standards for CHD services were developed, and why they were widely supported by clinicians and patients alike.

“We want to hear as many views as possible about how we propose to achieve excellent care for CHD patients during the ongoing consultation, and as part of that process these events are one of a number of opportunities for patients, families and the public to get more information about the plans and answers to any questions they may have.”

The public consultation will provide patients and families with more information about the proposals, and the potential impact they may have, if implemented, on the delivery of services, and to seek views about the plans.

They will also be hosting large online meetings and one on one appointments for those uncomfortable about airing their views in public.

Email this address to attend. england.congenitalheart@nhs.net.