News

Plans to stop operations at children's heart centre 'penny pinching' says union

Plans to stop operations being performed at a children's heart centre are a scandal of national proportions, a union has said.
heart surgery

Plans to stop operations being performed at a children's heart centre are a scandal of national proportions, a union has said.

Unite said the proposals to end heart surgery at Leicester's Glenfield Children's Heart Centre were 'penny pinching'.

In July, NHS England announced that the number of hospitals in England allowed to perform children's heart surgery is to be cut in a controversial move.

Under the plans, 13 level 1 centres that perform surgery will be cut to 10, and nine level 2 specialist cardiac centres will be cut to four.

Some NHS trusts said they would fight the decision, with Leicester saying it would not sit by while officials at NHS England 'destroy our fabulous service'.

It said its results were among the best in the country

Plans to stop operations being performed at a children's heart centre are a scandal of national proportions, a union has said.

Unite said the proposals to end heart surgery at Leicester's Glenfield Children's Heart Centre were 'penny pinching'.

heart surgery
'penny pinching' plans to stop heart surgery at a children's centre. Picture: iStock

In July, NHS England announced that the number of hospitals in England allowed to perform children's heart surgery is to be cut in a controversial move.

Under the plans, 13 level 1 centres that perform surgery will be cut to 10, and nine level 2 specialist cardiac centres will be cut to four.

Some NHS trusts said they would fight the decision, with Leicester saying it would not sit by while officials at NHS England 'destroy our fabulous service'.

It said its results were among the best in the country and that closing its service would threaten other key children's services in the region, including intensive care.

Unite protests

Unite, which has organised a protest in Leicester on Saturday 29 October, said the proposals were not based on empirical evidence.

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter, who will be addressing the rally, said: 'There is no logic or empirical evidence to close this first-class centre and force very sick children to seek treatment in Birmingham and possibly even further away.

'This is a cruel proposal which is completely unnecessary – this is a scandal of national proportions, where penny pinching trumps great care for children born with heart defects.

'We call on the people of Leicester to turn out in their thousands for Saturday's rally.'

Carmel Hunt, modern matron for paediatric intensive care and cardiology at Glenfield Hospital, told Nursing Standard in July: ‘We did 331 surgical cases in the last year and 90 in the past three months –  where will these cases go to? 

‘Why would you close a unit with some of the best outcomes?’

Changes due

Officials at NHS England believe that while units in England are safe, not all are providing excellent care.

In July, when the proposals were announced, officials said they hope that by centralising services, outcomes for patients will continue to improve – with more patients surviving and those children born with congenital heart defects living longer into adulthood.

The changes are due to be brought in from April next year.

Congenital heart disease services have been the subject of a number of reviews since the public inquiry at Bristol Royal Infirmary in 2001.


Further information

Matron urges rethink on heart surgery centres

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs