Court fight over future of children's heart surgery
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Monday 19 March 2012
A key milestone in the struggle to reshape the National Health Service is reached today as two NHS organisations square up in court over the future of children's heart surgery in London.
One in five NHS trusts is struggling to survive in the tough economic climate and the National Audit Office concluded last October that there were too many hospitals in the wrong places with the wrong specialties serving the wrong populations.
The first specialty to confront the challenge is children's heart surgery, which has spent a decade negotiating a plan, published last year, to concentrate services in fewer, larger centres to raise standards and improve safety, as well as save money. It followed a public inquiry into the worst hospital scandal of the 1990s in which scores of babies died or were maimed by sub-standard treatment in Bristol.
In London, served by three units, the plan was to close paediatric heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea and concentrate the service at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Guy's and St Thomas's.
But it was blocked by the Royal Brompton which called the idea an "act of bureaucratic vandalism" and won a court order in November halting the move. The Safe and Sustainable NHS review, run by a joint committee representing primary care trusts, which drew up the plan, will today appeal against last November's ruling.
Life & Style blogs
Kanye West's Yeezy Boost trainers: All you need to know ahead of the UK launch
Majority of UK women don't bathe or take a shower daily
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Brit Awards 2015: Red carpet round up, from Paloma Faith to Ed Sheeran
The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...
£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...
£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...