A representative from UHL will attend the meeting to present their initial view on the proposals from NHS England which are attached.
The Joint Committee had received a report from UHL presenting their initial view of NHS England’s proposals.
The Chair welcomed John Adler, Chief Executive, UHL Trust and Claire Westrope, Consultant Paediatric Intensive, UHL Trust, who were attending the meeting to outline UHL’s views on the proposals and to answer Members’ questions.
The Chair invited Mr Adler invited to make an introductory statement during which he made the following comments:-
a) UHL still disagreed with the original intention to decommission congenital heart disease surgical services from the Trust and the reasons were set out in Appendix C previously circulated to the Joint Committee members.
b) The Trust’s responses to the questions in the consultation paper had also been circulated to the Joint Committee.
c) The Trust had no difficulty with the motivation behind the review and agreed that there should be a good high quality service for children who were seriously ill with a congenital heart disease. The Trust felt, however, that the changes being proposed were misguided and appeared to be a solution looking for a problem. There were good Congenital Heart Disease outcomes in Britain when compared globally and the Glenfield Unit had good outcomes compared to the rest of country.
d) Mr Huxter’s comments on the progress made by the Trust were welcomed and NHS England’s participation in the public meeting had been appreciated.
e) It was pleasing that the issue of co-location and the concerns NHS England had on locums had been discussed and sorted out. All that remained unresolved with NHS England was the number of operations per surgeon. UHL were not in dispute with proposed standards per se but did disagree with the way in which they had been applied retrospectively by NHS England.
f) The other area of difference was how pro-active NHS England should be in assisting the Trust in getting to the required numbers. NHS England had declined to be pro-active in this and had consistently cited that they don’t choose where patients are treated. This was essentially for the family and the child and the referring commission to decide. However, the organisation of these services was the responsibility of NHS England and, whilst NHS England may say that they do not choose where a patient will be treated, they ultimately do determine where a patient will not be able to be treated; and that was what the current proposals sought to do. UHL’s preferred option was to work with NHS England and other network partners to make relatively small adjustments to UHL’s effective catchment area to enable UHL to meet the required standards in relation to number of operations. This would allow UHL to continue to offer services to children which were currently highly regarded. In a recent CQC inspection they had been rated as outstanding, the highest rated service within the Trust. It would also avoid creating a large geographical gap across the country with no CHD surgical services. None of the other changes proposed by NHS England would result in an entire region not having CHS surgical services.