The new Congenital Heart Disease review: 35th update

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

Your feedback

We continue to receive your feedback to the consultation and welcome your comments.   Although the “road show” has finished, the consultation period continues until 5pm on 8 December and we are keen to encourage as many people as possible to share their views with us; further details are available here.  More information about the deadlines for returning responses can be found here

Patients, families and their representatives

Over the past 5 weeks members of the review team have toured the country in a white transit van, bringing the proposed standards to 12 cities in England and Wales.  Here they give a snapshot of their experiences:

‘We found ourselves in every sort of venue: grand and humble; different shapes and sizes; different facilities. We became very good at sizing up the room and setting up in no time at all. Each event had basically the same format – 12 display boards summarising the consultation document, and two videos, one created by some of our younger service users at events earlier in the year, and one created primarily by members of the Clinical Advisory Panel which explained the evolution and some detail of the standards.  And we had five members of the review team resplendent in blue sashes, like Thunderbirds puppets, ready and waiting to talk.   And talk we did, sometimes for five hours solid.   Between four and five hundred people attended the events in total; some stayed briefly, some for hours. No two conversations were the same. Our aim was for everyone to have the conversation they wanted to have, however long or short, and on whatever topic they wanted to discuss.  It was a great privilege for us, not just to talk about the standards, but to hear people’s stories. We hope everyone who attended the events found them as useful as we did.  And if anyone needs a team that have van-loading and event set-up skills….

All the materials used at the events are available through the links above or on our website, apart from the children’s video, which we do not have the necessary permissions to put on the internet.


We’ve also been out and about talking to local government colleagues:

  • Alison Hughes from the review team attended a Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (OSC) in Leeds on the 3 November 2014 alongside Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund charity.
  • I attended the Leicestershire OSC on 12 November, with Christine Richardson from NHS England’s Leics & Lincs Area Team, and I attended the Lincolnshire OSC, on 19 November, with Sara Webb from the same Area Team.
  • Finally, Alison Rylands from our Cheshire, Warrington & Wirral Area Team gave a briefing on the review to Lancashire County Council’s OSC Steering Group on 7 November, and to Bolton Council’s OSC on 18 November.

Clinicians and their organisations

On Monday 17 November Michael Wilson and Jane Docherty attended the Royal College of Nursing Networking event.   This was a great opportunity to directly engage with the nurses working in many roles within the specialty from 14 Trusts.

NHS England and other partners

NHS England has a Service Reconfiguration Oversight Group (SROG – a new acronym to add to the list) which I attended on 11 November in order to provide an update on the progress of the review.   I made the point that “reconfiguration” is not an inevitable consequence of this review and we have no prejudice about the number of centres – we are currently consulting on standards and specifications.


The Board’s “Task and Finish” Group will meet on 24 November.  You can see the agenda and papers for the meeting here.


From now on I’ll be publishing the blog every three weeks instead of fortnightly, and over the Christmas period there will be a four week gap between updates.

The planned publication dates up to end of March 2015 are:

  • 15 December 2014
  • 12 January 2015
  • 2 February 2015
  • 23 February 2015 and
  • 16 March 2015.

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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