Consultation over children’s heart surgery was unfair to Royal Brompton, judge rules

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 08 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7275
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A consultation exercise that proposed closing the children’s heart surgery unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London has been quashed by the High Court in London, in a landmark ruling.

The NHS’s Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts, which is conducting the consultation on “safe and sustainable children’s congenital cardiac services,” immediately announced its intention to appeal, claiming that the judge had “misunderstood” the review process.

The consultation came after a recommendation from the 2001 report of the public inquiry into deaths of children undergoing heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary, chaired by Ian Kennedy. The report suggested an investigation to ensure that surgery should not be carried out in hospitals where the low volume of patients or other factors made it unsafe.

After a 2007 report that recommended fewer and larger …

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