NHS England today announced more details of the accelerated national reviews into paediatric critical care and specialised surgery for children.
The reviews, which are part of NHS England’s regular round of specialised commissioning service reviews, would normally take up to two years to complete, but have been fast tracked to run in parallel with other work on new nationally agreed standards for congenital heart disease.
The aim of the reviews are to ensure sustainable paediatric critical care and specialised surgery services which will deliver high quality, safe care to children and their families into the future – as close to the patient’s home as possible. The reviews will also look at paediatric Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), which delivers care to children with life-threatening respiratory and cardiac conditions, and paediatric transport which provides children with a mobile critical care service while transferring them between hospitals.
An Expert Stakeholder Group is being recruited to oversee the work, and is expected to include representatives from organisations such as the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, the Royal College of Anaesthetists, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Children’s Alliance and the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, as well as other key experts and patient representatives.
Dr Jonathan Fielden, Director of Specialised Commissioning, NHS England said: “We want to guarantee consistent standards of high quality care, regardless of where our patients live. We know for instance that at the moment, some children are being treated in the most specialised paediatric intensive care units when they could be treated closer to home if suitable services were properly supported. Similarly, some of the children transferred to specialist hospitals for surgery could have their operations closer to home if their local hospital services were linked more securely to networks including our most specialised centres.
“This would be better for children and their families, and would also enable better collaboration between professionals. By keeping paediatric intensive care and specialist centres for our sickest children, we would match their needs to the expert skills of our doctors, nurses and therapists, and make the best use of the NHS’s valuable resources.”
Emerging findings from the reviews are expected to be published this winter, and will also be used to inform the future commissioning of congenital heart disease services, which will be the subject of a formal public consultation in December.