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20 February 2014

Paediatric Cardiac Services

Sir Bruce Keogh confirms that NHS England has examined in detail all the data on mortality following children's heart surgery that is available from the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and found that the service in Bristol has comparable outcomes compared with the other units in England. He clearly says that he would allow his own child to be operated on in Bristol today.

Separately, the President of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery has said that the public should have confidence in what the evidence shows - that the mortality rate is normal for the sorts of operations performed in Bristol.

However, a small number of families have expressed serious concerns about the care provided to their children. An independent review has been announced, to be led by Sir Ian Kennedy, which will investigate these concerns. The Trust hopes that the review will restore these families' confidence in the service by demonstrating that the Trust has taken appropriate action in response to their concerns.

We welcome Sir Bruce's commitment that the families who have raised concerns will be at the heart of shaping this review and our aim now is to work in partnership with them and Sir Ian Kennedy to demonstrate the safety and quality of the service, and to address any residual concerns that the review may highlight.

For the families who continue to rely on our service, and the staff who strive continually to deliver the very best care, it is critical to remind ourselves that this service is delivering good results and, importantly, a positive experience for families - we routinely conduct a random survey of families in our care and, in our most recent survey, 98% of families said they had received excellent, very good or good care.

In the past four months, two inquests have taken place into children who died following paediatric cardiac services. Following each inquest, the coroner recognised the improvements that the Trust had made to the service and she made no further recommendations for change.