NHS England announced today a new configuration of congenital heart disease services across England following public consultation earlier this year.

The new plans are being launched to ensure that congenital heart disease services across the country meet new NHS England clinical standards so that patients receive consistently high quality services wherever they live.

In the North West, congenital heart disease services will be provided in a new network approach, with the majority of congenital heart disease care continuing to be available from strong clinical centres in both Manchester and Liverpool.

The new model will see the most specialist care for adults and children being delivered from Alder Hey, Liverpool Heart & Chest, Liverpool Women’s, and Royal Liverpool Hospitals.

Manchester will continue to provide outpatient clinics, specialist maternity care, and some cardiac interventional procedures for adult congenital heart disease patients while adult and paediatric surgery and complex cardiac interventional procedures will be undertaken at Liverpool.

In response to today’s announcement, the Medical Directors of the three hospital Trusts named as the lead providers in the new North West congenital heart disease network made the following statements:

Professor Robert Pearson, Medical Director of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said:The NHS England decision sets out a clear direction for stabilising and keeping congenital heart disease services in the North West.

“Our continuing priority is to ensure that patients with congenital heart disease continue to receive the appropriate level of safe, high quality care. The interim arrangements that are currently in place in Manchester to support adult patients who require surgery or complex interventional procedures will continue until the specialist adult surgical service is established in Liverpool.”

Dr Raphael Perry, Deputy Chief Executive and Medical Director of Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We can assure patients and their families that there is a real commitment from everyone involved in the delivery of these services, in both Liverpool and Manchester, to work collaboratively.

While the decision means that complex adult procedures will be carried out from Liverpool, we will work very closely with the clinical teams in Manchester to ensure patients are fully supported throughout their treatment.

We will now move forward with plans to recruit to clinical posts, and meeting the required clinical standards for patients across the North West who are dependent on these important services.”

Steve Ryan, Medical Director of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We welcome this decision and look forward to working with our clinical partners across the North West Congenital Heart Disease Network to continue to deliver a specialist service with patients’ needs right at its centre. Through the network, we will provide a single and seamless pathway for patients with congenital heart disease of all ages, ensuring the highest levels of care and improving quality of life in the future.”

Note to editors

Manchester Heart Centre

Manchester Heart Centre at Manchester Royal Infirmary has been the Level 1 centre for specialist adult congenital heart disease. Alder Hey Hospital is the specialist centre for paediatric congenital heart disease care.

Manchester Heart Centre is currently working in partnership with the specialist ACHD centres in Leeds and Newcastle to support ACHD patients who require surgery or cardiac interventional procedures under interim arrangements that have been in place since June 2017. These arrangements are likely to continue for the next 12 months until the new network arrangements are in place.

Manchester Heart Centre will continue to provide a comprehensive range of cardiac services and cardiac surgery to patients from Greater Manchester and the wider North West region.

The new North West ACHD network arrangements

The majority of congenital heart disease care will continue to be available from strong clinical centres in both Manchester and Liverpool.

Once the new network arrangements are in place, complex adult surgical procedures will be carried out at Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital, with clinical teams from Manchester working very closely to ensure their patients feel supported when referred and following surgery.

Manchester will continue to provide outpatient adult clinics, specialist maternity care, some cardiac interventional procedures for adult congenital heart disease patients, and specialist outpatient clinics for children.

Paediatric surgery for congenital heart disease will continue at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.

Blackpool and Wrexham will continue to provide outpatient adult clinics.

A number of additional clinical posts will be needed to support the new ACHD network and ensure that the required clinical standards are met. Recruitment to these posts will now begin.

The North West Congenital Heart Disease Network

NHS England will directly commission its congenital heart disease services from Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Each Trust will be contracted separately but required to work under the governance arrangements of the North West Congenital Heart Disease Network.

This network also includes membership and representation from Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust. It maintains links to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Wrexham Hospital (part of Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board). While NHS England does not commission congenital heart disease services from these hospitals, some congenital heart disease patients routinely access care and services in these Trusts and complex cases are referred to Liverpool or Manchester.

Further information

Further information is available on the NHS England website as follows:

NHS England Board papers: https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/nhs-england-board-meeting-papers-30-november-2017/

NHS England statement: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2017/11/nhs-england-outlines-future-of-congenital-heart-disease-services/