Framework for Future of Childrens Heart Surgery

18/02/2013

The HSC Board at a Public Meeting in Belfast on 14 February approved a framework for the commissioning of paediatric cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology for children in Northern Ireland. Belfast Trust houses this service.

 

The framework will now be submitted to the Minister for Health, Social Care and Public Safety (DHSSPS) for his consideration. When the framework has been agreed by the Minister, it will then be applied to each of the options outlined in the post consultation document, with the aim of identifying a preferred way forward for the provision of services for children with heart disease in Northern Ireland. The Minister is expected to make a decision within coming months.

 

Background

In August 2012, the HSC Board, at the Minister’s request, established a Working Group to develop a framework for the commissioning of services for children in Northern Ireland who require cardiac surgery or interventional cardiology procedures. Membership of the Working Group includes clinicians, commissioners, parents of children with heart disease and parent group representatives.

Public consultation on a proposed framework for the commissioning of services was undertaken between September and December 2012. The consultation was specifically in respect of the following three key areas:

  1. A detailed service specification for commissioning Paediatric Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology
  2. The range of potential service model options including an all-Ireland model
  3. Criteria (with agreed rationale for inclusion and weightings and scoring) against which the options for children from Northern Ireland should be assessed.

Consultation

Unlike the majority of other consultation processes, the HSC Board was not consulting on a preferred option, rather the focus was on the development of an appropriate framework which could be used to determine a preferred option.

Following the extensive analysis of responses, the Working Group carefully considered the major themes arising from respondents and also any key clinical issues that were raised by clinicians.

Subsequently a number of changes were made to the service specification, primarily in response to issues the Working Group considered to be priorities.

Speaking after the public HSC Board meeting, Chief Executive John Compton said that the consultation period was vital in ensuring the views of the public and stakeholders were heard and taken into account.

Mr Compton said: “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all those who contributed during the consultation process, particularly parents and families who have shared their personal experiences. I am also hugely grateful to the members of the Working Group for their continued input and support. The framework agreed by the Working Group provides a structure within which services for children can be commissioned. This will ensure that every child in Northern Ireland who may require specialised cardiac care has access to quality and safe care that meets the very highest standards.”

The post consultation document is available on the HSC Board website