Bristol Children's Hospital named as national specialist centre
BRISTOL Children's Hospital has been named as a national specialist centre for cardiac surgery.
It will mean that the city centre hospital will carry out surgery on young patients from across the South West and Wales.
A national review of children's heart surgery, under the title Safe and Sustainable, was carried out in response to the report that was published, 11 years ago this month, following the Bristol baby heart scandal of the 80s and 90s.
After more babies died or suffered brain damage than should have done following surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary it was recommended that the specialist procedures should be concentrated at fewer hospitals to ensure paediatric cardiac surgeons have the skills and expertise to operate successfully.
Since the baby heart scandal cardiac surgery moved into the dedicated children's hospital and now its cardiac surgery outcomes are among the best in the country.
Bristol Children's Hospital, pictured, had featured in all the options that were previously considered as specialist surgical centres for young patients ahead of a public consultation. But the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) in London yesterday considered an additional six options including the possibility that surgery would not be carried out in the city centre site.
Dr Jacqueline Cornish, Head of the Division of Women's and Children's Services at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: "We are proud of our paediatric cardiac services at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the role it has played in the development of paediatric cardiac services nationally.
"The service has consistently demonstrated the quality of its care and is now amongst the best in the country.
"We already use the model of working that Safe and Sustainable will embed across the country.
"The Bristol service works successfully as the hub surgical centre in a network that extends across the South West and South Wales, enabling it to care for children from a wide geographic region, in partnership with their referring hospitals.
"Our formal response to the public consultation recorded our support for all four options.
"Option B was chosen by the JCPCT as the one that will be implemented and we will now work closely with specialist commissioners and referring cardiologists to ensure that sufficient activity is achieved for the Bristol service to be compliant with the designation standards.
"Specifically we will work to strengthen and extend our existing networks to ensure we are well placed to support children and families wherever they live."