What is next for heart patients in the East Midlands?

A robot arm at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester Credit: PA
  • Why do NHS England want to stop children's heart surgery in the East Midlands?

NHS England say that the unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester will not meet new standards quickly enough. It proposes to stop heart surgery for children and adults in Leicester.

  • What are the new standards and how are Leicester doing?

Surgeons must work in a team of at least three people, rising to four by 2021. Each surgeon must carry out 125 operations per year. Last year, 326 cases were dealt with in Leicester, which is short of the 375 required.

The unit must be on the same site as other paediatric services by 2019.

  • What will happen to the patients who would go to Leicester?

They will have to travel to Leeds or Birmingham for treatment and those centres would need help to be able to cope with increased numbers.

  • What would happen to the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre?

It would no longer be a level one centre offering surgery but would deal with outpatient appointments. It means surgeons would be forced to go and work elsewhere.

  • What do the East Midlands Congenital Heart Unit say about the plans?

They say closing the unit in Leicester will mean patients will have to travel further, especially for patients travelling from the far east of the region in part of Lincolnshire. Leicester's Hospitals has released a plan to make sure it meets new guidelines from NHS England, although NHS England said as of Jan 2017 they had not seen a robust enough plan.

  • Who is supporting Glenfield Hospital?

22 MPs from the East Midlands have written to the Health Secretary against the plans. Campaigners also handed in a petition of 130,000 signatures calling for the consultation to be stopped. More than five demonstrations and marches through the city of Leicester have taken place over the last 12 months with former patients and staff taking part.

  • When does the consultation end and what happens next?

Monday 17th July at 11:59pm. NHS England will then review the responses and hope to report back later in the year with a decision.

  • Where can I fill in the consultation?

You can respond to the consultation here: https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/chd/