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Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
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Safe and Sustainable

Chronology (including judicial review)

12 June 2013
The IRP released its report on the Safe and Sustainable proposals for children's congenital heart services, and Jeremy Hunt announced in Parliament that he was in agreement with the panel's recommendations that the original review was flawed and suspended reconfiguration plans.

See our statement in response to Jeremy Hunt's announcement (transcript)
Read the IRP report

IRP update - 19 March 2013

Following the outcome of the judicial review by a Leeds charity into the Safe and Sustainable consultation process, the IRP will now submit its report at the end of April 2013, not the end of March as previously planned.

See our statement regarding the Leeds decision

22 October 2012

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt announces a full review of the JCPCT's decision by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

4 July 2012
In a public meeting, the JCPCT approves the plan to end children’s heart surgery at one of the best performing and largest centres in England, reducing the number of centres offering children’s heart surgery in London from three to two.

19 April 2012

High Court upholds the JCPCT's appeal.

"While disappointed that this issue has divided the judiciary and that Mr Justice Owen’s judgment has not been upheld, we look forward to the decision-making body, the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT), considering all relevant information when coming to a decision about the future of children’s heart surgery in England ... read more."


26 March 2012

“On 7 November 2011, Mr Justice Owen stated that Royal Brompton’s challenge to the consultation on children’s heart services succeeded on the grounds that the consultation process was unfair to the Trust: ‘…the unfairness being of such a magnitude as to lead to the conclusion that the process went radically wrong’.  He concluded: ‘…in my judgment the consultation exercise was unlawful, and must therefore be quashed’.


In response to the appeal against this decision lodged by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, led by Sir Neil McKay, the Trust has lodged grounds which include:


  • It was unlawful that a three London centre option was not consulted upon. Options that included keeping the three centres open at least scored as well as one or more of the options that were consulted upon, and in fact were better placed than the ‘two London centre options’ to achieve the ideal number of operations per centre.

  • The ‘research and innovation’ score, which led to Royal Brompton being knocked out of the ‘London race’, misled users about the importance and quality of the research carried out by the Trust and rendered the consultation document unfair.

  • The participation of doctors from the two other London centres, Great Ormond Street and Evelina, on the review’s steering group and the refusal to allow Royal Brompton experts to join them, was unfair.

  • Deliverability: Royal Brompton’s children’s Intensive Care Unit would be closed if children’s heart surgery stops, yet no plans have been made for where the hospital’s intensive care patients will go, there has been no consideration of, or consultation about, the hospital’s respiratory patients who need intensive care, and although there would be less impact at both other London hospitals, this was not reflected in the scoring.”


One of the Trust’s greatest concerns has been the needless anxiety that the Safe & Sustainable review has caused to patients, their families and NHS staff, but the Trust board was of the view that it could not sit back and watch while flawed plans to dismantle our specialist children’s services were introduced by bureaucrats, plans which we know will have a harmful effect on patient care. It is a source of deep regret that legal challenge was the only option left open to us."

7 November 2011
Mr Justice Owen upholds the Trust’s challenge and rules that the public consultation “was unfair and must therefore be quashed”.

16 September 2011

The Pollitt Report is published, confirming that specialist children’s respiratory services cannot continue without intensive care and anaesthesia.

22 June 2011
Adrian Pollitt is commissioned by NHS Specialised Commissioning to chair an independent panel of national and international experts to advise on the potential impact on other services at Royal Brompton Hospital as a result of the proposed closure of children's heart surgery services.

15 July 2011
Mr Justice Burnett grants permission for a judicial review of the public consultation, on all grounds advanced by the Trust.

1 July 2011
The public consultation into children's heart surgery services in England closes.
Read the Trust's response to the consultation

17 March 2011

The Trust launches legal proceedings against the JCPCT in respect of the public consultation into children's heart surgery. The Trust’s board believes that the recommended options put to public consultation are fundamentally flawed, such that a consultation based on them would be unlawful.

1 March 2011
Public consultation begins.

16 February 2011
JCPCT announces plans to end children’s heart surgery and intensive care at Royal Brompton.

Royal Brompton

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London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121