What are the standards?

On 23 July 2015, the NHS England Board agreed new standards and service specifications for CHD services for adults and children, with the expectation that in future all networks would meet the standards, leading to improvements in service quality, patient experience and outcomes.

The standards and associated service specifications describe the way in which CHD services are to be organised and run to support development. They will ensure that all patients have access to high quality care and minimise differences between centres. They cover a wider range of subjects than previous standards, reflecting the views of patients and their families about what matters to them.

These standards, available in full below, began in April 2016, each standard has an associated timeline, some of which were immediate, from April 2016, and some of which we know will take longer to deliver.

The timelines were set by NHS England’s Congenital Heart Services Clinical Reference Group (CRG), which is made up of clinicians, patient representatives, commissioners and other experts, who felt that some of the changes required to meet the standards, such as the co-location of children’s CHD services alongside other specialist children’s services, could not be made overnight.