Bristol review publishes final report. Thursday 30th June 2016

The Independent Review of Children’s Cardiac Services in Bristol (“the Bristol Review”) has today (30 June 2016) published its final report.

The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (SCTS) welcomes the recommendations made by the report for improving children’s cardiac services in Bristol. A statement from SCTS said:

“Having a child undergo heart surgery is a very frightening time for families and it is clear from the Bristol Review that, at times, parents have felt let down by the care their children received. Our sympathies are with those families. However, local patients will be encouraged that the standards of care at Bristol were reported to be comparable with those of other centres caring for children with congenital heart disease.

“The complex and technical nature of children’s heart surgery means it comes with unavoidable risk. It is absolutely right the review makes recommendations as to how these risks are communicated to families and how the anxieties they express are used in turn to improve patient care.

“At the time the review was commissioned, concerns were raised about nursing staff numbers which have since been addressed. To provide consistently high quality care, children’s cardiac surgery must be delivered in units that have an adequate number of staff to support each other, provide secure on-call rotas, disseminate new techniques and train future specialists. These units should also be large enough to ensure teams are exposed to all conditions in sufficient volume to maintain experience and expertise.

“Next week NHS England will publish proposed changes to ensure a consistent level of care for cardiac patients across the country. We have worked closely with NHS England to support the new standards of care and hope they will reduce variation and ensure high quality care for cardiac patients of all ages.”

Notes to editors:

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Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery
National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit

The Society has pioneered collection of surgical information in the UK, having run a register of all major heart operations since 1977. Surgeons are rightly proud of what has been achieved through this approach. The comprehensive collection and feedback of clinical outcomes to members and the public has demonstrated a 25% reduction in mortality for adult cardiac surgery since 2003. There is also international benchmarking of our results showing a 25% better risk adjusted mortality for cardiac surgery than the European average. The SCTS is recognised widely as having been at the forefront of innovation and quality improvement in the NHS for the past decade.

The aim of the Society’s National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit is to collect information about all major heart operations carried out in the UK and through that to improve quality of care for patients. The audit allows appropriate comparison of clinical performance with national and international standards, and provides useful data on changing trends within the specialty. We are international leaders in the field, having published data down to individual surgeon level since 2005. 

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