Friday, 1 April 2011

Have a heart and share your views on children’s surgery

Two events are being held in Birmingham next week to get the views of local people on an NHS review of children’s heart services in the city.

Operating on a child’s heart is one of the most complex and demanding types of surgery. Success depends on intricate procedures on hearts often no bigger than a walnut. Generally speaking, the results of congenital heart surgery across the UK are good, but the NHS wants to make services the best they can possibly be.

In Birmingham alone last year, 555 procedures were carried out at the Children’s Hospital - the greatest number of procedures for a single hospital in the UK.

In order to improve children’s congenital heart services, the NHS is running a national consultation and they want the views and opinions of the public. The vision for children’s heart services in England is to make them even safer and more sustainable. Changing the way services are planned and delivered will improve outcomes and ensure the quality of future services.

The consultation, called ‘Safe and sustainable’, looks at standards of care, service organisation and how quality is measured. The NHS would like to hear from anyone with a view on the future of children’s congenital heart services including those most affected, such as parents, young people and NHS staff.

Leslie Hamilton, Immediate Past President for the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery and Vice Chairman of the Safe and Sustainable Steering Group, said: "This consultation is about improving the quality of care for children with congenital heart disease. We must concentrate surgical expertise in larger (and therefore fewer) centres to ensure we have better outcomes for children and make sure that services are safe and sustainable for the future. I urge patients and families to respond to the consultation, as this is the most important opportunity people will have to directly influence the outcome of the consultation."

The first consultation event in Birmingham is planned on Monday 4 April, 6 – 8pm, while the second is aimed specifically at young people and will take place on Saturday 9 April 11am-1pm, both at Maple House on Corporation Street in Birmingham. To register to attend, please visit or to view the consultation document and share your opinions online, please visit  

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