Moves to allay cardiac unit fears

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

The Government has dropped a bombshell by announcing some services at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s £52m cardiac unit face the axe.

But bosses at the hospital are keen to point out the resort’s much-respected Lancashire Cardiac Centre is not under threat.

They have been told by NHS England that congenital heart disease (CHD) procedures will be carried out elsewhere from next April.

Although care at the unit was found to be safe, new NHS standards say surgeons must operate on at least 125 CHD patients to remain highly skilled. But between 2012 and 2015, just far fewer procedures were carried out at Blackpool, according to a national audit.

In a jargon-filled announcement that was embargoed until 12.01am today, NHS England said it was ‘concerned as to the level of occasional and isolated practice’ and said it would work with Lancashire Cardiac Centre to transfer services elsewhere.

Professor Mark O’Donnell, medical director of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said “We would like to reassure our population the Lancashire Cardiac Centre will continue.”