Not just children’s heart services - what else is affected?
If children’s cardiac services cease at Royal Brompton there is a very real threat to the future of the whole Trust.
Our paediatric intensive care unit would necessarily close, because of the drop in volume of patients needing such expertise. In turn this would adversely affect our respiratory services, many of which cannot be delivered without the back-up of a specialist intensive care service.
Our entire paediatric unit would be de-stabilised as a result, with specialist respiratory care for children being untenable as a stand-alone service. All children’s respiratory services, including those for cystic fibrosis, one of the largest in the UK, would have to stop. The detrimental impact on Royal Brompton’s adult cystic fibrosis unit, acknowledged as one of the leading centres in Europe, would soon be seen: 70-80% of adult patients progress from the paediatric service.
Similarly, within one to two years, the effect of losing paediatric heart services would adversely impact on Royal Brompton & Harefield’s adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) service, which cares for more patients with congenital heart disease than anywhere else in the UK. Many of them are treated for pulmonary hypertension by another group of specialists within the Trust, one of just six centres in the UK accredited to treat this disease.