Along with twenty other MPs from both sides of the House, I recently signed a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Health calling on him to halt plans to end congenital heart services at the Royal Brompton.
The hospital is the UK’s largest for congenital heart services and third largest for children’s heart surgery, serving over 12,500 patients in total. It is a national centre of excellence that looks after people from all over the country, not just London and the southeast, and over the years has built an international reputation for tailoring the transition from paediatric to adult care in a seamless, coordinated process.
The planned closure, proposed by NHS England and subject to an open consultation until 5 June, is the result of new NHS guidance stipulating that hospitals providing CHD services must have children’s services on the same site. The hospital meets this standard by working in partnership with neighbouring Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Furthermore, other hospitals, including the Newcastle Hospitals Trust, have been omitted from these proposals, despite having a similar system to the Royal Brompton. I believe anomalies such as this must be answered and addressed before any changes are introduced.
Indeed, at a recent public meeting NHS England conceded that there is ‘no scientific evidence’ to support this plan. More worryingly, were these proposals to go ahead, London would lose 15% of its children’s intensive care beds.
As Dr Richard Grocott-Mason, the medical director at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, has said: ‘I cannot understand how this plan would result in patients receiving better care. It makes no sense to try and improve care by closing one of the biggest, well-performing services, or by destroying research teams that are leading the way in finding new treatments for the future. To do this without a sound basis in evidence is nothing short of foolhardy.’
The consultation can be responded to through the link below. I have also attached a copy of the letter, sent to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, on 15 March at the bottom of the page.