After writing to Central Manchester Foundation Trust on behalf of Down’s Heart Group, expressing our concern at the closure of the clinic we recieved a joint reply from the Chair and CEO in which they acknowledge Patrick Sheehan’s contribution to the service and state that they have “developed a very close relationship with its partners in the adult arena at Manchester Royal Infirmary where clinical teams equally hold an international reputation in reconstructive ear surgery, cochlear implants and airway reconstruction” and they “feel this is an important relationship to progress and service development with regards to patients with Down syndrome specifically.” They end by saying “In the meantime, and whilst I can understand the anxieties which our rearrangements may have caused, please be reassured that we are convinced that the changes will result in an improved service for all our patients, including those with Down syndrome.”
In light of this, I forwarded the petition to them (which by then had over 300 signatures), to highlight the strength of opinion registered in just 10 days regarding this service and to advise them that their comments have been passed on to all signatories, who will no doubt be watching developments closely to ensure that their promise of an improved rather than depleted service is achieved. I will also be keeping in contact with Patrick for updates on how the changes are being managed from his perspective.
I am now re-opening the petition so that more people can add their voices and also post comments on their experiences of how the changes are being handled.
For many years, Mr Patrick Sheehan, consultant ENT surgeon and his colleagues have provided a high quality of service within the dedicated clinic at the Manchester Children’s Hospital, which caters for children with Down’s Syndrome.
The care that children referred to this clinic receive is exemplary, thanks to the very high level of expertise that the clinic staff have built up and which enables them to deal with the full range of ENT problems, including some which can be very difficult to manage, in this complex patient group. Advice is often sought from Mr Sheehan and his colleagues about difficult queries and they are highly thought of by parents from around the UK, so it is with great concern that we have recently learned about the intended closure of the clinic at the Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Despite the present difficult economic climate which poses huge challenges for the NHS and whilst appreciating that very hard decisions and choices have to be made, we understand the enormous value and unique nature of the Manchester clinic and feel that discontinuing it will be a serious loss to this group of disadvantaged children. In fact, since it started in 2003, the clinic has recieved many awards including:
2008, British Medical Association book awards – highly commended in the patient information category
2008, The Health & Social Care NHS awards – highly commended
2006, The Greater Manchester SHA awards – finalist in the ‘Manchester Evening News’ individual achievement category
2006, The Trustech North-West NHS awards – highly commended in the new innovations category
2006, The Health Service Journal NHS awards – finalist in the mental health category
We would ask that you consider the impact on an already disadvantaged group and the potential of the loss of such an important service and the knowledge and experience of it’s staff and that you review your decision and retain this important service.