New standards for Congenital Heart Disease services now in play

Welcome to my latest blog on the implementation of the national Congenital Heart Disease review.  I hope you find these updates useful; I’d really welcome any comments or questions you may have.

New standards: assurance

The new standards for CHD services took effect in April 2016. As I explained in my last blog a process of provider self-assessment – with evidence – against selected index standards is underway.

The first round of the assessment process is now complete, following which all hospitals have been asked for additional information in order to complete the assessment. We know that it is important to make sure that hospitals have had every opportunity to describe how they meet the standards and to evidence this before we complete our assessment. We gave initial feedback on the findings of the first round at our recent meeting with clinicians (see below).

Commissioning approach

NHS England’s Specialised Services Commissioning Committee (SSCC) discussed the programme at its meeting on 24 February 2016. The SSCC recognised the status quo could not continue and we need to ensure patients have access to safe high quality services that are sustainable into the future. They recognised that achieving this within the current arrangement of services would be problematic. They endorsed continued national co-ordination of the process and welcomed the self-assessment process as the appropriate first stage and asked for a report once this process was complete.

Working together

On 18 March we held a meeting with CHD clinicians from across the country. The meeting was well attended with a bigger range of clinical professionals joining us than for previous meetings, which was especially welcome.

As well as receiving a progress update, the meeting heard presentations from Dr Trevor Richens, Congenital Cardiologist, University Hospital Southampton and Chair of the CHD Clinical Reference Group, and from Dr Anjum Gandhi, Paediatrician with Expertise in CHD, Good Hope Hospital and Chair of PECSIG on patient pathways.  The group then split up for further discussion of pathway issues. We also took the opportunity to discuss with the group how to work together in this new phase of our work.

We are holding a virtual meeting with our patient and public group on 20 April where we will cover some of the same ground. If you would like further information about this meeting please contact us via

Once we have finished these discussions I will share with you more information about how we plan to work together over the course of the next year.

Image of Will Huxter

Will Huxter is Regional Director of Specialised Commissioning (London) at NHS England and currently chair of the NHS England Gender Task & Finish Group.

Prior to joining NHS England in June 2014, Will worked in a range of commissioning roles within the NHS, and for five years at an NHS Trust.

He has also spent eight years working in the voluntary sector.

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One comment

  1. Leslie Brissett says:

    This work is in safe hands!
    linking the public and clinicians in a robust and meaningful way.