I want to use this blog to update you about the progress we are making in implementation of the nationally agreed standards for Congenital Heart Disease services, which were approved by our Board in 2015.
As you know, we are currently preparing for public consultation on our proposals about how CHD services might be configured in the future, in order to implement the standards across the country.
Since announcing our proposals in July, our regional and central teams have been working with providers to pin down exactly what is left to do to enable those who are almost there in meeting the standards, to achieve full compliance.
We have also been talking to those trusts which – on the evidence they have presented to us so far – look like they will be unable to meet the standards in full, within the required timescales as set out in the standards. These discussions, as you might imagine, are quite complex and involve a significant amount of back and forth between ourselves and the trusts in terms of information sharing.
It is really important that we give these discussions enough time to run their course, as some of the information received already during this pre-consultation period has the potential to alter the proposals which we will put forward for public consultation.
Given where we are in talking to a number of CHD providers, we have decided to enable talks to continue for a slightly longer period of time and will, therefore, launch public consultation in the New Year, and not before Christmas, as originally intended.
This will allow time for further discussions to take place, and will enable some of the providers to further refine and develop their plans for future service delivery – and for us to continue our pre-consultation engagement with patients, the public, clinicians, and other stakeholders
I will let you know via this blog once we have a definite date for consultation launch.
I will also give you more detail about some of the events that will be taking place during consultation. We are currently planning a mix of face-to-face and digital events, including webinars and Twitter chats, for those who are unable to travel to meetings, as well as some specific events for groups we think would be particularly affected by our proposals.