Lifelong Congenital Heart Network

Lifelong Congenital Heart Network

What is a Congenital Heart Disease Network?

Alder Hey Childrens Hospital and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital -both Level 1 Centres, are at the heart of Congenital Heart Disease Network which includes all Level 2 Centres- Manchester Children’s and Manchester Royal Infirmary and Level 3 Centres -all other referring hospitals within their catchment.

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The purpose of the lifelong Congenital Heart Disease Network is to bring together a wide range of stakeholders to work across geographical and organisational boundaries to support equity of access to high quality, evidenced based care. Our goal as a Network is to address and reduce inequality and improve patient experience and outcomes. We work with the principle of putting the patient at the heart of services and continued development of CHD services through every aspect of their journey.

A New Model of Care

The national review determined that across the country services should be organised according to a three tier model, with clear roles and responsibilities for each tier. Networks will help local services to work closely with specialist centres, to ensure that patients receive the care they need in a setting with the right skills and facilities, as close to home as possible. With specialist and local cardiology centres meeting national standards, more care can be safely given locally. The three tiers are:

Specialist Cardiac Surgical Centres (level 1): Each network will have at least one Specialist Surgical Centre. All cardiac surgery and most cardiological interventions will be undertaken at these level 1 centres. These centres will provide the most highly specialised diagnostics and care.

Specialist Cardiology Centres (level 2): Not all networks will necessarily include level 2 paediatric cardiac centres, but because of the increasing number of adults living with CHD, Specialist Adult CHD (ACHD) Centres are expected be more common. The need for level 2 centres will be determined by each network taking account of local circumstances, including the opportunity to improve local access, the need for additional capacity, and the availability of appropriately skilled staff.

Local Cardiology Centres (level 3): Local children’s cardiology centres mainly sited in (District General Hospitals) will employ a paediatrician with expertise in cardiology (PEC) to provide ongoing monitoring and care. They will run outpatient clinics alongside specialists from the Specialist Surgical Centre. This will mean that more care can be given locally, so children and their families will have less need to travel long distances for their ongoing monitoring and care.

Network Benefits

Network Benefits:

- To deliver excellent care and treatment for patients with congenital heart disease, along the whole patient pathway, improving outcomes, quality of care and patient and family experience;

- To ensure that nationally set specifications and standards of service are consistently met across the network;

- To develop and ensure the operation of common referral, care and transfer pathways and other policies, protocols, and procedures across the network;

- To ensure that as much care and treatment is provided as close as possible to home and that the patient and their family travel only when essential, while ensuring timely access for interventional surgical procedures and the best possible outcome for the patient.

- To ensure that there is an integrated, coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to the care of patients with congenital heart disease.

- To ensure the safe and effective transition of young people from paediatrics to adult services.

- To identify the need for level 3 services (paediatric and adult) and to support their operation and development.

- To establish and maintain systems for the collection, analysis and reporting of data on outcomes, quality of care and patient and family experience.

- To undertake audit, and other service improvement activities including reflecting on and responding to suboptimal outcomes, care and patient experience;

- To ensure efficient and appropriate flow of patients along the pathway, managing system capacity and improving system resilience.

- To support effective workforce planning across the network, including training and the professional development of all clinical staff involved in the care of patients with congenital heart disease.

Anyone with Congenital Heart Disease in the Northwest, North Wales and the Isle of Man will receive the right care, at the right time, at the right place, by the right person.

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Alder Hey Children's Charity
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