Letter from OPM – Office of Public Management
14 June 2012
Parents of children with respiratory conditions who are cared for at Royal Brompton may have received a letter this week about an "engagement exercise" that OPM has been asked to undertake for the London Specialised Commissioning Group. The London Specialised Commissioning Group is the NHS team responsible for deciding which hospitals provide specialist respiratory care for children in London.
Royal Brompton may lose its children’s heart surgery unit as part of a national review, which is considering reducing the number of centres undertaking children’s heart surgery in London. This would have an impact on other children’s services, including respiratory care. The panel responsible for deciding if children's heart surgery remains at Royal Brompton must consider all responses to this engagement exercise received by 25 June.
Removing children’s heart surgery would mean Royal Brompton’s paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) would also close. Anaesthesia could not be offered in its present form because it would not be feasible to keep an on-site team of anaesthetists. Therefore, no child could be anaesthetised or sedated on site, meaning some of the more complex work undertaken by our expert teams would have to be done elsewhere.
A panel looked into this issue (Pollitt panel) and concluded that while non-specialist treatments could still be delivered without a PICU and anaesthetic teams, Royal Brompton’s current specialist children’s respiratory services could not continue in their present form without intensive care and anaesthesia.
The Pollitt panel put forward a number of suggestions as to how services in London might be reorganised to cope with the lack of intensive care at Royal Brompton, but no work has yet been done to test if their ideas would work in practice.
If you decide to take part in the respiratory engagement exercise you may find the following documents useful.