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Child Surgery Changes ‘Need To Have Safety Focus’

Consultation To Be Released


Patient safety must always be the driving force behind any changes to children’s heart surgery services across England, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell has demanded.

A review into such services is expected to recommend that four out of the 11 units currently operating should be closed in an effort to improve standards of care offered to youngsters needing such treatment.

It is believed that a focus will be placed on expanding the centres which remain in operation in order to increase the skill levels of surgeons and encourage a pooling of expertise and resources.

John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford has already brought its child heart surgery operations to an end due to several deaths in the past 12 months, while the review was originally launched after the Bristol heart babies scandal in the 1990s.

Julie Lewis, a medical law and patients’ rights specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, said it was vital that safety remains a focal point for the changes.

She explained: “While the report is expected to call for a reduction in the number of units in operation, any move which is designed to put the best interests of patients first is a positive one.

“Lessons need to be learnt from the problems seen in the past and I hope that these proposals will prevent further children and their families from facing the same anguish as many others in the past.

“Patient safety must always be a priority for the NHS and we hope that any changes are implemented in a fair and reasonable manner.”