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20 May 2014

Bristol children’s hospital welcomes congenital heart review - NHS England’s national review of congenital heart services visits Bristol

Staff at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children are welcoming members of the national congenital heart review team onto its wards today (Tuesday 20 May) and are taking them on a tour of the hospital's paediatric and adult cardiac units to meet  with patients and their families.

NHS England's review team, chaired by Professor Deirdre Kelly, is visiting all specialist units currently providing congenital heart surgery in England. Bristol Royal Hospital for Children treats more than 900 children each year, including 110 from Bristol last year, and the panel's visit will help inform NHS England's strategy on the future provision of congenital heart services in England.

As part of the panel's visit they are discussing the service with doctors, nurses, governors, patients and families.  The panel is also visiting the 16-bed children's heart surgery ward (Ward 32) as well as the high dependency unit and other relevant wards in the hospital.

Robert Woolley, chief executive of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We thank Professor Kelly and her team for visiting the service today. We wholeheartedly support NHS England in its process to improve heart services in England and will do whatever we can to help support the review."

"Our clinicians work closely with colleagues across the country and regularly visit other specialist centres to help us refine the services that we deliver. We support any efforts that help the NHS advance specialist cardiac services for children and adults in England."

Gemma Penney's daughter Imogen, has been cared for by the children's heart surgery unit for four and a half years, and will be meeting the review team. She said: "I am very much looking forward to the visit of the review team and highlighting some of our experiences at Bristol Royal Children's Hospital. Imogen has been looked after by the heart unit since she was born and I can't fault the care she receives. The staff are brilliant and what Imogen particularly likes is that she feels comfortable there, she is never rushed. I wouldn't want Imogen to go anywhere else for her care. "

In 2010, a panel visited Bristol to assess its children's heart service as part of theSafe and Sustainableprocess, which preceded the current NHS England review. When options for reducing the number of specialist surgical units in England were announced in 2011, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children was included in all four options to operate as one of six or seven specialist children's heart centres in the future.