15 March 2017
Yesterday, 21 MPs issued a letter to Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP calling for him to block plans to decommission congenital heart disease (CHD) services at the Trust.
Eight of the MPs joined Dr Jan Till, consultant paediatric electrophysiologist and co-director of children's services, and Hannah Gibson, mother of a child being treated for CHD at the Trust, in parliament yesterday with a giant reprint of the letter to help raise awareness of the issue.
The letter was sent as more than a thousand patients, staff and supporters prepare to join a demonstration against the plans on Saturday 18 March, organised by three charities that support the Trust and its patients.
The letter outlines how NHS England’s plans are not based on evidence, will destroy some of the world’s leading research teams, will cost the NHS millions of pounds, and will not just affect CHD services but a range of other heart and lung services too.
In the letter, MPs call on Jeremy Hunt to intervene to halt the proposals, as he did the last time Royal Brompton’s CHD services were under threat during the now notorious ‘Safe and Sustainable’ review in 2013.
The letter concludes by adding “Would you not agree that the closure could only be justified if it is clearly set out how this would lead to a better service for patients? To date NHS England has completely failed to demonstrate this”.
Victoria Borwick MP, who signed the letter, said: “MPs have come together from across the political divide to support Royal Brompton, showing that this is not a party political issue. This is a matter of simple common sense. Royal Brompton Hospital offers world leading services as one of the biggest and best heart disease hospitals and is also renowned for its cystic fibrosis care. It is entirely wrong to put this in jeopardy.”
Dr Till added: “It is rare that a Secretary of State for Health has the opportunity to support British research, protect world-class services, and save the NHS money all in one go, but this is exactly the opportunity Mr Hunt is presented with here. For the sake of the 12,500 Royal Brompton CHD patients whose care would be turned upside down by these nonsensical plans, I hope he listens to his fellow MPs, and seizes the opportunity.”
NHS England is currently asking people to respond to the public consultation on its plans for Royal Brompton’s CHD services. Guidance on how you can do this is available on the Trust website.
The Trust’s partner charities are still inviting people to register to attend the march, which promises to be the largest demonstration of its kind in recent Trust history.