A joint committee of primary care trusts has given the go-ahead for a consultation on plans for greater centralisation of paediatric cardiac care.

The committee this afternoon considered recommendations to develop Congenital Heart Networks across England to unify services from antenatal screening up to the transition to adult services.

The four options approved for the networks will now go to a formal public consultation. This will take place between the end of this month until 1 July, after which a decision will be made.

All the options envisage either six or seven surgical centres, and some hospitals appear in every option.

These are the Evelina Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street in London, Alder Hey in Liverpool plus Bristol and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals.

The options document produced by NHS Specialised Services, the combined body representing England’s 10 specialised commissioning groups, said: “There is an overwhelming feeling that the time for change is long overdue.”

The issue is a long-running one for the NHS with reviews recommending fewer, larger centres for surgery since 2001.

Last year John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford suspended children’s heart surgery after an investigation by South Central strategic Health Authority.

 

The options

Option A

Seven surgical centres at:

  • Freeman Hospital, Newcastle
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool
  • Glenfield Hospital, Leicester
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • 2 centres in London

Option B

Seven surgical centres at:

  • Freeman Hospital, Newcastle
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • Southampton General Hospital
  • 2 centres in London

 

Option C

Six surgical centres at:

  • Freeman Hospital, Newcastle
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • 2 centres in London

Option D

Six surgical centres at: 

  • Leeds General Infirmary
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • 2 centres in London

London

The preferred two London centres in the four options are:

  • Evelina Children’s Hospital
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.