The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Yorkshire patients benefitting from heart disease network

15 October 2019

A Network that delivers expertise in the treatment of congenital heart disease across Yorkshire, the Humber and North Derbyshire has been commended in the latest review of its service.

The Yorkshire and Humber Congenital Heart Disease Network (YHCHDN) covers a population of 5.6 million people and provides services in 20 regional hospitals from Scarborough in the north and Chesterfield in the south. 

CHD Network Map 002 v2

The Network, which is hosted by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust as its cardiac specialist centre, promotes expertise in the treatment of congenital heart disease for patients from birth through to adulthood so they get the best possible care available throughout their lives.

The peer review, carried out by NHS England, commended the Network for:

  •  being recognised by many in cardiac services across England as leading on the development of networking, sharing achievements and lessons learned
  • the levels of training offered throughout the Yorkshire and Humber region across the different disciplines involved with the care of heart disease patients
  • targeting nurse education via cardiac link nurses to cascade training to local teams
  • trying to reduce the number of heart patients that don’t present for follow-up when they transition from child to adult patients (15-19 years)

The Network has been working to improve services for those young patients who transition from children’s to adult services (15-19 years) who could potentially be lost to follow-up. 

 An audit carried out in 2017 showed that between 6% and 17% of the population who were “transitioning” didn’t present for follow-up. 

The Network has set up some new initiatives that aim to reduce this by:

  •  setting up adult clinics closer to the patient’s home
  • holding transition evenings for young people and families to meet the adult team who will be looking after them.

Network manager, Debra Wheeler, said she was pleased with the outcome of the review which showed the progress they had made since the Network was re-launched in 2018.

“Our priorities going forward will focus on developing telemedicine facilities, image transfer and electronic patient records to improve communication and participation across the Network,” she said.  “We remain committed to making this Network the best in the country, where our patients have access to the highest quality congenital heart disease care irrespective of age or where they live.”A new monthly clinic for adult patients was established at Castle Hill Hospital in Hull in August 2018 as part of the commitment to provide specialist cardiac care closer to home.

The clinical team from the specialist centre in Leeds have been travelling to Hull to provide clinics alongside the local team, with patients no longer having to make the long journey to and from Leeds in a day to see them.

Dr Matt Balerdi, consultant cardiologist at Castle Hill Hospital, said avoiding the long trip to Leeds for clinics was a great benefit for his patients. 

He added: “This, combined with the reassuring faces from Leeds they have known for years, really gives our patients confidence that this new service is more convenient and still provides the high-quality care they have come to expect.”

Matt Balerdi v2








Matt Balerdi