Conservative candidate pledges to urge new health secretary to scrap plans to close congenital heart disease services at Royal Brompton, if re-elected On Tuesday 22 May, Conservative candidate and former MP, Matthew Offord, visited the paediatric intensive care unit and children’s ward at Royal Brompton Hospital to see for himself the vital services that NHS England is threatening with closure Though the hospital is not in Mr Offord’s constituency, Nitha Naqvi, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist at Royal Brompton, is a Hendon resident and wrote to her MP as a private citizen and constituent. Mr Offord, who has sat in Hendon since 2010, explained that he had a hole in his heart as a child and that, therefore, heart disease services are a cause he is passionate about. Nitha Naqvi was joined by David Atkins, Service Manager for Children’s Services, Margerita Burmester, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist, Ajay Desai, Paediatric Intensive Care Consultant and Joanna Lewin, Communications & Marketing Manager at Royal Brompton & Harefield Charity, who together explained the many reasons why the proposal, should it go ahead, would be entirely foolish and illogical – not least because of the current critical situation of intensive care beds in the UK. Mr Offord was visibly moved as he visited children in intensive care and listened intently to Dr Naqvi, Dr Desai and Dr Burmester about some of the treatments administered. On Rose Ward, Mr Offord met with the parents of Callie Lyons (pictured above), who has been a patient at the Brompton since birth. Callie’s parents said: The nurses are our family. We wouldn’t trust any other hospital with Callie’s care – it’s ridiculous that they would consider closing such an amazing and successful unit. Mr Offord met with several other families – a recurring theme from all the parents he spoke to was how the expertise is unparalleled, with mother of young patient Simon Shecter also stating that the “Brompton are like family”. Meeting with mum of 6-week old Zoya Ikrim, Mr Offord was asked if he’d like to hold the tiny baby, who has a rare congenital heart condition. Mr Offord said afterwards: I don’t get nervous often but I’m shaking after holding her. I’m sold – this simply cannot happen. Mr Offord went on to pledge that he would help us in the fight against the proposal by writing to the new health minister and requesting a commons debate, if he holds his Hendon seat.