Dear Friends of the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre,

We continue to have dialogue with NHS England in respect to their proposals for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) services across England, following their visits to the East Midlands to hold consultation meetings and attend local authority Scrutiny meetings. Partly as a result of these discussions, we are preparing a much more detailed growth plan to share with NHS England that illustrates the current and anticipated surgical requirement for CHD surgery within the East Midlands, our current and projected caseload based on population growth and advances in surgical procedures, and the impact of the additional network referrals from hospitals within the East Midlands region.

We firmly believe that this, along with some very positive support from our network hospitals, will provide NHS England with the reassurance they need regarding future surgical numbers, and we will be encouraging NHS England to work with us to ensure we provide them with any clarification needed.  As I mentioned in my briefing after the staff and public consultation meetings, our ability to meet the 500 surgical caseload standard by 2021 is now the only standard on which NHS England needs more information so this is obviously being given significant time and focus.

Our surgical team are of course crucial to our  growth strategy and today I must announce that our friend and colleague Simone Speggiorin will, later this year be taking up a new position as Consultant Surgeon with the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. Though we are clearly sad to lose a valued colleague, we are pleased that his talents remain within the NHS and we wish him well. Just before Christmas last year we successfully recruited a new surgeon from a strong field of UK and international candidates, Mr Ikenna Omeje, from Great Ormond St, who will join us by June therefore maintaining our ability to deliver the 3 surgeons and 375 cases standard in the new Congenital Heart Review. Clearly we will now begin the process to recruit a 4th surgeon to join our team in line with our 500 surgical caseload growth plan.

Speaking of his time is Leicester, Simone has said:

“I would like to thank all my colleagues in East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre, UHL and above all patients and parents for the support and help they have given me in the past 4.5 years. I joined this unit just after the Safe and Sustainable review started and faced what difficulties such external pressure can put on a service. But rather than giving up we fought, thrived, improved and excelled. These are characteristics that belong to winning teams that are strong and resilient. And we did this with a smile on our faces. This is how I will remember my time in Leicester, where I made friends and worked alongside colleagues that are above average.

 “I am sure that this team will continue to be strong, delivering world-class surgical care. I am honoured and proud to have been part of this team.”

On Thursday last week we met with our stakeholders for our regular monthly update meeting. I thanked them all for their superb support and the knowledgeable and informed way they have interacted with the consultation process so far;  I really believe that this is making a difference. However, as I have mentioned before, we really need as many people as possible to review the consultation proposals and respond to the consultation questions. This is not a simple case of signing a document; it requires understanding of the proposals and the key issues that we believe will arise should these proposals be implemented. Our supporters have kindly agreed to rally troops and help to provide guidance and support to everyone who wishes to respond to the consultation questionnaire. Support can be found as follows;

EMCHC Website – Details of the consultation proposals, the Trust’s position on the consultation, the consultation questions and the young person’s version of the questions with support materials can be found on:

Drop in sessions for face to face advice:

  • Glenfield Reception                                                                                             Monday – Thursday 09.00-16.00 from 27 March until 2 June 2017
  • LEat Restaurant – Leicester Royal Infirmary                                                      Monday and Wednesday 09.30-12.30 from 27 March until 2 June 2017
  • We need volunteers please to man session at Leicester General. If anyone is able to help please contact, Alison Poole: Alison.poole@@uhl-tr.nhs.ukor call 07595769548, or Ext: 3481

Family open days supported by Heartlink, Ward 30 Parents Conservatory and Play Area

These will be an opportunity for parents, staff and patients to meet informally for a coffee and discuss their views and how best to convey these through the consultation process.

There will be no access to the ward at these meetings so entry will be from the ground floor conservatory entrance.

  • 2 April 11.00-14.00 (Easter egg run)
  • 7 May 11.00-14.00
  • 20 May 11.00-14.00 (NHSE patient event venue) TBC

Staff forums                                                                            

  • 16 March – 10.30 – CEC Lecture Theatre – Glenfield Hospital
  • 13 April – 10.30 – CEC Lecture Theatre – Glenfield Hospital
  • 18 May – 10.30 – CEC Lecture Theatre – Glenfield Hospital

If you have any staff meetings, ward meetings, or small meetings where support would be helpful, please contact Alison Poole: or call 07595 769548, or Ext: 3481.

It is very important that we maintain the fantastic momentum that we have created so far, and I would ask if you could share this information as widely as possible and encourage all friends and family to participate in the consultation process. Campaign materials can be downloaded on: or are available by contacting Alison Poole on the contact details above.

Case studies

Over the past few weeks we have been sharing our ‘piktochart’ case studies on our social media pages. This week Claire and her two-year old daughter, Eloise shared their story. Claire was born with Tetralogy of Fallot and has been treated at Glenfield since she was six months old. Her daughter was also born with the same condition and receives specialist treatment at Glenfield. We continue to thank our patients and families who have kindly shared their stories with us. Please don’t forget to carry on sending us your stories to the usual address: