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Glenfield heart unit remains 'at risk'

Alfie Andrews after his operation Credit: ITV News

Alfie Andrews was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome which effectively means he has half a working heart. The four-year-old from Lincoln has just had his third heart operation at Glenfield and his parents say they don't want to have to travel further for care in the future.

Credit: ITV News

NHS England announced plans last summer to stop heart surgery at Glenfield children's Heart unit and a 16 week public consultation is underway. It's because three surgeons there aren't doing 125 operations a year each in line with safety and quality targets.

The hospital trust though argues that 'quality of care should come ahead of quantity of operations'. They also argue numbers are being used in an inappropriate way.

Dr Frances Bu'Lock, Consultant East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre:

It’s our job to organise services so that every adult and child with congenital heart disease in this country gets not just safe or good care, but excellent care. We’ve worked hard with patients and clinical professionals to develop a set of standards to achieve this, and heard clearly throughout this process that this would only be worth something for patients if acted upon.

NHS England has set out how these standards can be put into practice. No final decisions have been made, and whether or not they are carried out in the way we’ve suggested, is subject to the outcome of public consultation, so we encourage everyone with an interest to get involved.

We’ve already been working with the hospitals potentially most affected by our proposals to help them to meet the standards, and look forward to hearing as many views as possible during the consultation.

– Professor Huon Gray, National Clinical Director for Heart Disease, NHS England

We fully support these standards. NHS England must ensure that the standards are applied for the benefit of patients, by ensuring that expertise is concentrated where it is most appropriate. The proposals put forward by NHS England in July 2016 should improve patient outcomes and help address variations in care currently provided.

– The Royal College of Surgeons and The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery