Ruislip Residents' Association

Harefield Hospital

This world renowned heart and lung hospital is a few minutes drive from Ruislip.  Its reputation for clinical excellence is second to none, despite its old buildings.

There are plans to rebuild the hospital on its present site, but that lies a long way ahead.  It is part of the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and we obtain regular reports on that Trust’s Board Meetings held in public

At its October meeting Hillingdon's  External Scrutiny Committee focused on local NHS services.  Representatives from all the local NHS bodies were present including Royal Brompton & Harefield FT.  The burning issue for the moment for that trust is the “Safe and Sustainable” consultation on proposals to remove paediatric cardiac surgery from the Royal Brompton Hospital. 

It was good to learn that Hillingdon Council responded to that consultation by vigorously defending retention of the Royal Brompton Hospital amongst the London providers.· However around 75% of consultation respondents supported the proposal to reduce London’s providers from three to two, preferring that these be Great Ormond Street Hospital and Evelina Children’s Hospital, part of the Guys and St Thomas NHS FT – but the options given did not include the option to retain all three London centres.·

 It is the view of the Royal Brompton Trust that the three current centres should co-operate in continuing to provide children’s cardiac surgery on all three of the current London sites.
Published on 30 October 2011

The Chief Executive of Royal Brompton & Harefield FT, Bob Bell, circulated an email after the Judicial Review of paediatric heart surgery noting that the Review had taken place and that the ruling was awaited. The Trust was urging a three-site network to provide services for children’s heart surgery in London.

Published on 11 October 2011

Join in the Harefield Hospital Fun Run 2011, 30th Anniversary, in support of the MRI Scanner Appeal
Sunday 4th September 9.30am to 3pm:  Run starts at 11.30am

Adults £10     Children £5    includes T-shirt, Medal and Goody Bag - 3.5 miles or 1 mile course
Team Tug of War - Fancy Dress - Arts and Crafts - Children's Races - All Day BBQ - Face Painting - Raffle - Vintage Car and Military Vehicles 
Tel 10895 828820 or visit website for application / sponsorship forms
Published on 02 September 2011

The Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has been granted a Judicial Review of the process proposing to rob it of its paediatric heart surgery.  This is very welcome news, the first step towards preserving this important service.  It will take place in the High Court in the Strand, London, over three days starting on 26th September 2011.

Click here to read more on the Trust's website 
First published on 15 July 2011.  Last updated on 07 August 2011

Because Harefield Hospital is part of the Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust, a threat to one is a threat to them both.  Our response to the public consultation on the proposal to end children's heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital is shown below.

Dear Sirs,                                       Public consultation:  “Safe and Sustainable”

Ruislip is a suburb of London in the Borough of Hillingdon, encompassing 8000 households.  Our members greatly value the services of both nearby Harefield Hospital and its partner, the Royal Brompton Hospital, including the latter’s excellent paediatric cardiac surgery.  We are deeply concerned by the proposal to end that service.  Furthermore we understand that losing that surgery would have far-reaching impact on other services, some of international standing and others unique in London.  This and loss of income would also cause irreparable damage to the stability and viability of the Royal Brompton & Harefield Trust.  All of this we deplore.

We also deplore the rigid interpretation of the Review’s recommendation of eight paediatric cardiac surgery centres across the country, which we believe should be only a guide.  Many factors may make that number inappropriate and ill-advised when practical considerations are applied to the existing centres.  Similarly, the recommendation for two London centres should be viewed pragmatically against all the relevant factors, including the location of other centres when those have been agreed and implemented.

Currently, London is fortunate to have excellent paediatric cardiac services, with three hospitals meeting all the Review’s criteria.  This should be a cause for rejoicing, not for the destruction of one of them.  They should all act as magnets for emulation of good practice and future clinical training, to disseminate their knowledge and experience countrywide.  There is already substantial co-operation amongst them, which we believe should be continued and expanded.  The Royal Brompton already has outreach services in other hospitals, providing a basis for future development and experience on which all three London centres could and should be required to build.

First published on 20 June 2011.  Last updated on 05 July 2011

The Community Voice, of which RRA is a member, also submitted a response to the public consultation on the proposal to end children's heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital.  Its response is shown below: 

14th June 2011
Dear Consultation Organiser,
I respond on behalf of The Community Voice, an umbrella organisation concerned exclusively with NHS services in North West London and South West Hertfordshire. Our membership includes forty-five local organisations - residents associations, community and patient groups, and branches of the three main political parties, together representing a population approaching 100,000 local people.
We have considered the consultation documents. We were also represented at the public consultation meeting at the Emirates Stadium on the 7thMay, an event which appeared to indicate that the platform party was there simply to present an agreed decision, rather than to hear members of the public, many of whom had travelled long distances in order to attend. The use of a well-known and skilled facilitator did nothing to reassure those present and indeed led to serious doubts about the purpose of the meeting.
We note the proposals’ key principles, which are impeccable, and the national quality standards - which we understand are fully met by the Royal Brompton Hospital. Of course we endorse the aim to improve services to the highest possible standards across the whole country, but we suggest that aim is best implemented through strengthening of networks across the country, by increasing training facilities to provide a larger pool of qualified staff, and by nation-wide co-operation through linkages between the best and the weakest of service providers – not by destroying the already excellent services provided by the Royal Brompton Hospital.
We cannot believe that that the Review properly considered the impact of its proposal to remove paediatric cardiac surgery from the Royal Brompton Hospital. The destruction of a service fine in itself would be only the first domino in a series of destructions including the loss of Royal Brompton’s famed cystic fibrosis unit, the largest in Europe, and its paediatric intensive care unit - without which its whole paediatric unit would become unviable. The impact on its services for asthma, electrophysiology and COPD cannot have been taken into account – as there is no obvious substitute for those services if they are lost from the Royal Brompton. Furthermore the impact on adult services and the financial impact of losing a very significant source of income would be disastrous for the whole Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust.
We urge that the Review rescinds its current recommendations and promotes co-operation instead of destruction, by which we mean co-operation between the three current providers in London to allow best use of the London resources, and the co-operation of those centres of excellence with other cardiac surgery centres across the country. The Royal Brompton Hospital already has more outreach facilities than the other London centres, experience that should be invaluable in extending London’s assistance to other regions. It also has unique experience of continuous life-long care for those with congenital heart problems, from pre-birth to adult services, which provides a reassuringly seamless service for patients and clinical continuity of treatment, a model from which others could learn.
Yours faithfully,                                                                                                           Joan Davis, Chairman
First published on 14 June 2011.  Last updated on 05 July 2011

The Royal Brompton & Harefield FT is facing the loss of its paediatric heart surgery, despite its excellent record for these services.  A review has decided that London’s three hospitals providing such services is one too many and that the Royal Brompton is to be the loser.  The Trust is challenging that decision and seeking a judicial review because the knock-on effect of losing these services would threaten its other services and be a devastating blow for the Trust - even the viability of the Trust itself could be at risk!

There were two public consultation meetings about these proposals on Saturday 7th May in the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal Football Club, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  The Trust urged its supporters to attend and both meetings were full to capacity.  We were represented by two of our members. 

Submissions to the consultation can be made until 1st July 2011 either online at or alternatively write to:  Freepost RSLT-SRLZ-JYYY, Safe and sustainable, Ipsos Mori, Research Services House, Elmgrove Road, Harrow, HA1 2QG

Further information is available on the Trust’s website  where there is also a link to an on-line petition at
First published on 28 April 2011.  Last updated on 23 May 2011

This is a costly process, embarked on with reluctance, indicating that the Trust is seriously threatened by the recent decision to end its children’s heart surgery.  Judicial Review is concerned exclusively with the processes by which decisions are reached.  If judicial review is successful the whole process will have to be repeated in a legally acceptable manner and the Trust, of course, hopes that a different decision would result – but there is no guarantee of that outcome.

What is the story in a nutshell?  A national review looked at children’s heart services.  A Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts accepted that review’s recommendations and decided that in future it would buy heart surgery for children from only two London hospitals, Great Ormand Street and Guy’s and St Thomas, instead of the current three.  The JCPCT then started public consultation on that proposal, ignoring the serious impact of ceasing to buy these services from the Royal Brompton Hospital – loss of children’s cardiac surgery would threaten many of its other services including its famous cystic fibrosis services which depend on shared facilities and staff, and loss of 10% of its income could make the whole trust financially unsustainable.  These are anxious times for everyone involved.

First published on 11 April 2011.  Last updated on 02 May 2011
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