The new Congenital Heart Disease review: 28th update

Since the publication of this blog John Holden has left NHS England.

It’s a short blog this week, reflecting the fact that there have not been lots of meetings, with all the associated paperwork that is the staple diet of the usual blog. Instead, we have been focused on preparing for the 25 July 2014 event which brings together all our engagement and advisory groups; developing a first draft of the consultation document (more about that below); and doing some of the necessary thinking and background work on our other objectives besides Objective 1 (the standards).

Your feedback

Thank you for continuing to comment on the issues we cover in the blog. We do not respond to every individual comment, but we do look at all contributions to consider any implications for the review.

Patients, families and their representatives

Following publication of the papers considered by the review’s Clinical Advisory Panel at its meeting on 18 June 2014, we received an email from The Somerville Foundation (TSF) raising their concerns about some content in Item 6, relating to transplantation for adults with CHD. In line with our commitment to transparency, you can read the correspondence from TSF here.

Clinicians and their organisations

Following the planned programme of visits to units providing CHD services, Professor Kelly (chair of our clinicians’ engagement and advisory group) has agreed to visit a representative sample of units providing ACHD procedures outside the specialist congenital surgery centres. Visits are now planned to Blackpool on 30 July 2014, Brighton on 13 August 2014, and Papworth on 15 August 2014.

NHS England and other partners

Our Programme Board meets on Monday 28 July and has a refreshed membership. The agenda for the meeting will include consideration of a draft of the consultation document which will accompany the proposed CHD standards when they are published for consultation. This is NOT the beginning of consultation on the standards, but there will be a limited opportunity for stakeholders to comment on how we could improve the shape/style/format of this consultation document before it is finalised. In addition to the standard consultation document we still intend to produce a very simple “easy read” version as well as a more comprehensive “reference document”, to suit different audiences.


The main Board of NHS England received an update from our Board Task and Finish Group at its 3 July 2014 meeting held in public. A  video recording of the discussion is available here, and a copy of the related Board paper (Item 10h), is available here.


Members of the review team will attend the Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group on Tuesday 22 July 2014 in order to brief NHS England colleagues on the progress of the new CHD review and the governance process being followed prior to launching a public consultation. You can read the papers that were submitted in advance of that meeting here.


We are delighted to welcome Ian Dodge as the new National Director for Commissioning Strategy at NHS England. Ian fills the role vacated by Bill McCarthy, which has now been redesigned. Ian has long experience in health policy; he was previously health adviser to the Prime Minister, and most recently was Director of NHS Group at the Department of Health.


Though not specific to the new CHD review, the NHS England specialised commissioning stakeholder newsletter: Issue 1 is now available here.

John Holden was previously Director of Policy, Partnerships and Innovation, since the publication of these blogs he has left NHS England.

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  1. Thomas Witter says:

    Dear NHS England,

    I am glad to see that Prof Kelly is visiting units that are not specialist congenital cardiac surgery units. However I am concerned that Papworth Hospital is one that does not submit congenital surgical or interventional data to the National Congenital Heart Disease Audit.

    How will NHS England address that going forward, as the audit has been in exsistance for over 10 years. Hospitals like papworth are not alone in not engaging in national clinical audit for congenital heart disease and there are, I suspect many trusts out there carrying out procedures on patients with congenital heart disease in very small numbers.

    If we truly want a world class service then we have to start with identifying outlying practice that for the most part goes under everybodies radar and does not necessarily meet the proposed standards on many fronts.


    Thomas Witter

    • new CHD review team says:

      We agree that all interventional and surgical procedures should be reported to NICOR. This supports learning across the system and provides a valuable assurance of quality. Because of this, reporting is a requirement in the proposed service standards. We plan to launch consultation on the standards shortly and would welcome views on our proposed approach. The standards also set minimum activity levels for surgeons and interventionists, require units to be part of networks and patients to be discussed by the network multi-disciplinary team. We believe that these measures will eliminate isolated and occasional practice, and again we would welcome views during consultation.