COMPLEX children’s heart surgeries will continue in the region until at least 2021.

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been given the go ahead to continue to provide its level one congenital heart disease (CHD) services at the Freeman Hospital until March 2021, following a national review aimed at introducing new standards.

Louise Robson, joint acting chief executive, said: “We welcome NHS England’s decision today as it endorses the outstanding standards of care our highly skilled specialist teams provide to children from across the North East and other parts of the country.

“It acknowledges the trust’s unique position in treating patients with some of the most complex conditions and recognises the quality of our outcomes, which are amongst the best in the country.”

Last year CHD services across the country were assessed against 238 standards to try and ensure patients receive the best care, with the Newcastle trust meeting all but two.

A trust spokesperson said of the two standards missed, that some work had been done to look at co-locating CHD and general children’s services and that it was almost meeting the target of each consultant carrying out 125 operations a year.

The future of heart transplant services and CHD services beyond 2021 will be considered at a later date.

The hospital is one of only two in the country that carries out transplants for children and is the main hospital for transplanting hearts for adults with CHD.

Professor Huon Gray, from NHS England said: “Every patient should be confident that their care is delivered by a hospital that meets quality standards.”