Dear BCCA Member
As we approach Christmas and the end of 2020, few will look back fondly on the past 12 months. The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the year and thrown into relief the vulnerability of patients, healthcare staff and our whole system of healthcare delivery, whether this is in hospital or in the community. Although the development of vaccines has brought hope of an end in sight, early 2021 may still appear as grim as 2020.
There will be time enough for soul-searching about what could have been done better, and lessons to learn for the future, all seen with the benefit of hindsight. However, 2020 has witnessed many positives. We should be proud of all members of our teams in striving to maintain services for patients in the face of adversity. I would like to thank everyone for their support in such a difficult time. Collaboration on guidelines, with involvement of colleagues and patient support groups is hugely appreciated and has resulted in a steady flow of guidance and other information as the situation has changed. The BCCA has initiated a national study on the impact of COVID-19 on patients with congenital heart disease (view short review of the literature
) and we thank all contributors for their continued support. It will be critical to continue to advocate for our patients as we emerge from the pandemic to ensure full recovery of prompt and effective care.
Measurement of quality of outcome remains vital to ensure maintenance and improvement of standards. The national congenital heart disease audit report
has shown a continued improvement in procedure – related patient survival which is a credit to the speciality across the country.
Sadly, we have lost a number of distinguished colleagues this year, including Rosemary Radley-Smith, Elliot Shinebourne and Bill Norwood. They have all contributed significantly to the care of patients with congenital heart disease both in the UK and abroad and will be sorely missed. We extend our condolences to their families and friends.
Despite all of the challenges of 2020, we should remain confident that we will overcome the challenges of the pandemic and emerge stronger.
With best wishes to all of the congenital heart community for Christmas and a considerably better New Year.
Professor John Simpson
British Congenital Cardiac Association