Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) has been highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan as one of the 8 clinical priority areas and cardiac services was one of 14 areas identified for rapid establishment of networks to support emergency and urgent care during a pandemic surge as part of COVID-19 preparedness. The long-term vision for cardiac services in the South East region builds on the nationally identified optimum model of care for cardiac services, and on the national COVID-19 emergency preparedness networks. This vision aims to integrate cardiac care and embed collaborative cardiac systems of working, delivering on the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan. Currently, acute cardiology services are focused around hospitals rather than care pathways. Moving to a network model, shaped by local need rather than geography, is aimed at delivering more equitable, accessible high-quality care and improved outcomes.
The East Sussex population has an elderly, multiply co-morbid, demographic driving demand for cardiac services. The changing needs of the population, the changing nature of cardiology care and the associated challenges in providing cardiology services have made the redesign of cardiology a key priority for the East Sussex system. The proposed transformation includes faster access to an expert opinion at the “front door”, recovery of services impacted by COVID-19, and improved outcomes for patients (including reduced hospital length of stay and reduced waiting times).
The strong recommendations from East Sussex Healthcare Trusts (ESHT) Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) cardiology review were to consolidate cardiac laboratory services and inpatient beds onto one site and ensure they provide clearly defined chest pain and electrophysiology patient pathways for the provision of timely best quality emergency treatment. The East Sussex Case For Change outlined the key drivers behind the need for the current service to change, providing a basis for local patient and clinician engagement which highlighted 4 key themes in provision of cardiac services: the care provided; equality and diversity; access and transport; and the clinical services themselves.
 NHS Commissioning A05 Cardiac services. https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/spec-services/npc-crg/group-a/a05/
 Appendix 1 of the PCBC: ESHT Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) cardiology review summary