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Bid launched to save complex heart treatment at world famous Royal Brompton Hospital

MPs have signed a letter addressed to the Health Secretary after NHS England announced plans to axe congenital heart disease (CHD) services

MPs Tulip Siddiq, Stephen Pound, Hugo Swire, Dr Tania Mathias and Victoria Borwick, mum Hannah Gibson and two-year-old CHD patient Nate (2), and Dr Jan Till, consultant cardiologist(Image: UGC TMS)

MPs from across London and the south have called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to halt plans to end congenital heart disease (CHD) services at Royal Brompton Hospital.

A total of 21 signed a letter addressed to Mr Hunt outside Parliament on Tuesday (March 14) after NHS England announced plans in 2016 to axe the service at the world famous heart hospital in Chelsea.

Among those putting pen to paper were the Conservative MPs Lady Victoria Borwick (Kensington) and Dr Tania Mathias (Twickenham), and Labour’s Steve Pound (Ealing North).

In the letter, they accuse the NHS of trying to solve a problem which does not exist.

Royal Brompton, in Sydney Street, Chelsea, is home to the largest CHD service in the country with more than 12,500 patients.

It is also among the best patient outcomes in the country.

The Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea

NHS England says hospitals providing the services must have certain other children’s services on the same site.

As Royal Brompton does not meet this criteria its is suggesting axing the service at the hospital.

The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust argues the Chelsea hospital does meet this standard by working in partnership with neighbouring Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to provide these services.

It has called the plans "foolhardy" and fears closure of CHD services would create a chain of events detrimental to the hospital and its patients.

Kensington MP Victoria Borwick signs letter, next to Stephen Pound, Tulip Siddiq, Dr Tania Mathias and Hugo Swire MPs(Image: UGC TMS)

A spokesman for the trust said: “If the plans went ahead, Royal Brompton would be forced to withdraw all CHD services, requiring both child and adult patients to find another hospital to provide their care.

“The plans would also dismantle Royal Brompton’s world-leading adult CHD research team – responsible for publishing more papers than any other centre in the world – and would force the closure of its children’s intensive care unit.

“Without intensive care the trust’s paediatric cystic fibrosis and difficult asthma services, both of which are the largest service of their kind in the UK, would also have to close.

"NHS England do not currently have any plan for dealing with these, and other, wider consequences.”

The trust claimed at a public consultation event held on March 7, NHS England admitted it had no scientific evidence to support the ending of services, and had also been unable to explain how removing services at the hospital would benefit patients.

Medics working in a Royal Brompton operating theatre (Pic: Alex Orrow)

The MPs’ letter points out three years ago Mr Hunt intervened to halt a similar CHD proposal at the hospital following a scathing report by an independent panel of experts.

The MPs are asking Mr Hunt to do the same again to end uncertainty for patients and staff and prevent NHS England from “wasting much needed resources on a completely unnecessary service reconfiguration”.

'What problem is the proposal aiming to solve?'

The MPs conclude their letter by asking the Health Secretary: “Given that commissioners and regulators acknowledge that there are no concerns about the quality of the Royal Brompton’s congenital heart disease services, what problem is the proposal aiming to solve?

“Would you not agree that the closure could only be justified if it is clearly set out how this would lead to a better service for patients?

"To date NHS England has completely failed to demonstrate this.”

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