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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Children's Hospital Network

Successful Network leads the way in services for Children

Children's Hospital Network Annual Report 2016/17

Since 2010, hospitals in Oxford and Southampton have worked together to provide a joint Network of Children's specialist services. It has led the way in collaboration by developing a Network to jointly deliver Cardiac, Neurosciences and Critical Care services for children across a large region.

The Oxford and Southampton Children's Hospital Network was established at the point when children's congenital heart services were assessed nationally and there was an opportunity for Oxford University Hospitals and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to work together in the context of the 'Safe and Sustainable' principles.

The trusts work together to provide a joint service for children with congenital heart disease. Southampton and Oxford provide specialist children's heart services for 23 district general hospitals covering an area that stretches from Northamptonshire to Cornwall and the Channel Islands. Over 15,000 children attend outpatient appointments for their congenital heart condition at the two hospitals each year.

The two centres have the expertise and facilities to provide a wide range of care and treatment for children. Services are delivered from both sites by joint multidisciplinary clinical teams and patients only have to travel to another centre when absolutely necessary.

More recently the partnership has enabled children's critical care teams to launch the Southampton and Oxford Retrieval Team (SORT) in September 2012. This works to provide a 24/7 retrieval service across the region.

In addition, neuroscience teams are now working together to provide an integrated service to children who require complex care pathways for life-long conditions. Plans to improve and develop neuromuscular and rehabilitation services for children across the region are also underway.

The Network is the first demonstration anywhere in the country in which two leading teaching hospitals are working together to network their tertiary services. It is an example of the 'Safe and Sustainable' model where concentrating the care of children into fewer, larger specialist centres seeks to provide better care and outcomes with access to vital services over a large geographical area.

Despite the recent uncertainty generated by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel review in the decision to close some Children's Heart Surgery centres, both trusts are confident that the Oxford and Southampton Network is working well for children, their families and the clinical teams involved. There is full commitment to continuing to improve children's specialist services through strong collaborative relationships that provide opportunities for innovation and the best possible care.

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