Please see below the next weekly instalment about our campaign to keep Children’s Hearts services at Glenfield. We hope you find this interesting.

Well the obvious place to start this week is with the announcement that there will be a General Election on 8th June. This will impact the Congenital Heart Disease consultation process as during the run up to an election all public bodies enter a period of ‘purdah’ and must refrain from any activity or decision-making that might be seen to influence the outcome of the election. This affects us in the Trust, but also our local MP’s and Councillors and the NHS England team responsible for the consultation process.

We have had verbal confirmation from NHS England that this will mean that from 22 April until 9 June there will be no public consultation meetings.  The consultation period will be extended until mid-July and any meetings that were due to be held over this period will be cancelled and rescheduled after the election. NHS England will be issuing an official statement in due course. This does give us longer to get as many people as possible to have their say about the consultation proposals, but it also needs us to maintain the momentum we have been so successful in achieving thus far.

We will be carrying on with our staff forum on 18 May at 10.30am in the Clinical Education Centre Lecture Theatre at Glenfield Hospital, and the wider stakeholder meeting on the 25th May at 18.00 in rooms 5a/b Undergraduate Centre Glenfield Hospital. All are welcome to attend.

This week we will be sending NHS England our completed growth plan – this 36 page document provides significant detail surrounding:  the anticipated demand for CHD services within the East Midlands now and in the future, our growth over the last eight years and our strategy for maintaining that level of growth and how we plan to increase it through enhanced and deeper relationships with our network partners .We are confident that the level of detail and alignment to NHS England’s regional allocation of responsibility, based on travel times, will provide the detail that is required to assure NHS England that the plan is viable. 

We are delighted that NHS England are coming to meet with myself and the clinical team on Thursday 18 May to go through the plan and answer any queries that may arise.  As we know, our ability to meet the standard that requires us to deliver a surgical caseload of 500 cases by 2021 with four surgeons is now the only standard that NHS England feel needs assurance; we very much feel that this document will provide this.

Whilst we completely support the implementation of the standards that form the basis of this consultation, and understand the need to meet a minimum quantity of surgical cases, we have always stated that our quality is vitally important, and beyond reproach. This was ratified by our outstanding rating from the CQC  (Care Quality Commission)  for effectiveness within the EMCHC service when they visited last year. Part of this is the support we give to our patients and their families, especially as there is often a need for numerous operations and frequent return visits to the ward and outpatients service.  This is also reflected in our friends and family scores, but very importantly in how our families feel about the relationships and bonds they and the patients form right from diagnosis, often in utero, right through to when they transition into our adult service.

We are delighted that one of our patients Alfie Andrews, age 4, and his parents Steven and Nicola have agreed to have one of their visits filmed by ITV Calendar news.  The film was aired over two nights on ITV Calendar and ITV Central news, starting at 6.00pm last night (open in Chrome) and finishing tonight. The film shows the remarkable Alfie before he comes into Glenfield for open heart surgery; it also covers his surgery and post-operative recovery.  Steven and Nicola share their thoughts on how they are feeling during this very difficult time, but also how much the care and attention provided by all the staff at Glenfield Hospital means to them.  I am sure you will join with me in thanking Alfie, Steven and Nicola for being so brave and allowing such amazing access at such a difficult time, and please do look out for the broadcast on the news this evening and share as widely as possible.  We will be posting the link to both features on our website once aired, and we must thank all the Glenfield staff and ITV news who made this possible.

It is likely that over the period of purdah things will slow down a little, but rest assured that we will be using the period wisely preparing our formal consultation response and helping as many others to do the same.  I will however review the frequency of this briefing and only post weekly if there is sufficient information to pass on. You can of course always speak to Alison Poole on or on 07595769548 if you have any questions or need any campaign materials.

 In the news

Finally, below is a roundup of all the media coverage we have received over the last week:

Thursday 13 April

Hinckley Times

Advice is at hand for heart care dialogue (Hard copy available from Communications Office)

Drop-in sessions are in place to guide people through a detailed consultation document on the future of local specialist heart care. Volunteers are on hand at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital to help supporters respond to NHS England and its proposals to shake-up heart disease services in England.

Wednesday 19 April

Listen again… BBC Radio Leicester

Jim Davis & Jo Hayward Breakfast Show (skip to 1:18:00)

Liz Kendall MP gives reaction to the call for a General Election and comments about campaigns she leads on locally, for example Keeping Children’s Hearts at Glenfield Hospital open.

Thursday 20 April

Newark Advertiser

Customers support hairdresser’s charity appeal (Hard copy available from Communications Office)

A hairdresser said she was overwhelmed by the kindness of her customers as she raised money for a charity that supports a hospital caring for her daughter. Chantelle Botton, reserved her seat last Thursday and Friday exclusively for blow-dries to raise money for Heart Link, a charity that helps the children’s heart unit at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester. Her six-year-old daughter, Sienna, has been a patient there since being diagnosed with Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome as a baby.

Leicester Mercury

More meetings to explain heart surgery proposals (Hard copy available in communications Office)

More than 1,200 people have so far sent their views to national health bosses on the future of children’s hearts surgery. Figures provided by NHS England show more than 700 of the responses have been sent from people living in the East Midlands. Our chief executive, John Adler, said: “This is fantastic news and shows our efforts to ensure as many people understand the consultation proposals and have their say as possible.”

Monday 24 April

ITV Central and Calendar

Family worried general election will delay heart unit decision (Part 2 continues on Central and Calendar tonight at 6pm)

A family from Lincoln say they are worried about care for their son, after it emerged a decision on the future of a children’s heart unit in Leicester could be delayed even further due to the general election. Alfie Andrews, who has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, relies on Glenfield for ongoing care.

Best wishes,

Communications Team

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

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