Matthew visited the children's Congenital Heart Disease service at the Royal Brompton Hospital in central London. The Department is a world leader in treatment and research but is under threat from a decision made by NHS England to close the service. Hendon residents David Atkins and Dr Nitha Naqui, who both work at the Service, took Matthew around the Department and explained the problem they are facing.
NHS England has launched a consultation into their proposal on the basis that closure will lead to a better service for patients at alternative sites. However, commissioners and regulators have acknowledged that there are no concerns about the quality of the service. Closure would involve a large transfer of services and patients and a number of other paediatric services would be under threat if the Department was closed, including those treating cystic fibrosis, difficult asthma and heart arrhythmia. Without the volume of child patients that the service treats, the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) would no longer be viable and if that were to close London would lose 25% of its children's intensive care units. NHS England admits that it has no plan as to where thousands of children will be treated elsewhere for these services.
Matthew said: "I am involving myself in this issue as my constituents are directly affected by this proposal by NHS England - both the staff and even some patients. It is uncertain if the impacts of closure and the knock-on effect on other services have been considered. During my visit I spoke to a number of parents who effectively live in the hospital with their children for up to six months while they are treated. If I am re-elected I will make strong representations to the Secretary of State for Health to keep the Congenital Heart Disease service at the Royal Brompton as a world class centre of excellence."