NHS bosses defend heart surgery cuts

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NHS bosses insist Boston patients will be better off thanks to changes to child heart surgery, despite the review meaning a 100-mile-plus trip to the nearest specialist unit.

Last week The Standard reported how the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester was one of three child heart specialist units to face closure following the review.

The Glenfield is currently the closest for Boston families, who will have to travel 107 miles to Birmingham Children’s Hospital in the future.

Following the story the NHS communications team contacted The Standard and stressed that many aftercare services will now be provided closer to home.

In a statement Dr Hilary Cass, President of the Royal College of Paedistrics and Child Health, said: “We firmly believe that having fewer, world class specialist surgical centres – and day-to-day care available closer to home – will lead to better survival rates as well as better overall care for children.

“While I understand that parents obviously want the best possible healthcare for their child, it is much better to have the right service further away, than the wrong service situated on your doorstep.”

The spokesman was unable to provide details of where the aftercare would be carried out for Boston or if extra transport provision will be made to help Lincolnshire parents who need to get their children to the West Midlands for treatement.

The Royal College of Surgeons and The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery says fewer, larger units will boost care.