07.03.2013

Safe and Sustainable Review of Children’s Congenital Cardiac Services

Press statement following the High Court judicial review on children's heart surgery services:

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was delighted that the Judge recognised the quality and uniqueness of our children’s heart surgery service, stating that it is “the only unit in the country to provide all cardiac care from conception, through birth, childhood and adulthood”. She recognised that our unit “is one of only two children’s cardiac pulmonary transplant units in the UK”, “among the top five centres in the world, within this field and has an international reputation”.

The Trust became involved in the court proceedings to correct inaccurate and derogatory information made in statements filed on behalf of Leeds about Newcastle’s service.

The Judge has not made any finding against Newcastle but queried an aspect of the NHS consultation as part of the reconfiguration process. The Judge must decide in the near future what action, if any, should be taken.

The Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital has fully supported the objectives of the review which are to ensure high quality heart surgery will be provided for all children. The decision to include Newcastle as one of the seven units in the country was reached following assessment by a panel of national experts during the most extensive consultation ever undertaken by the NHS. They recognised Newcastle’s outstanding service and reputation for innovation which is demonstrated by our world class results.

We are disappointed that the implementation of the review will be further delayed by this litigation. However, we remain confident that the original decision will in due course be upheld and the Freeman Hospital will be one of the designated centres providing specialist children’s cardiac surgery, for which our performance and very high quality is recognised internationally.

Newcastle Hospitals gives reassurance that our first and foremost consideration will remain the interests of children and their families under our care and we will not allow delays in the review process to compromise the quality of our excellent service.

ENDS

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