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G159 A review of the availability of pec (paediatrician with expertise in cardiology) services in the united kingdom
  1. H Andrews1,
  2. Y Singh2
  1. 1College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge University NHS Trust, Cambridge, UK


Aim To determine the availability of PEC services in the UK by investigating the number of non-specialist paediatric cardiology hospitals employing PECs, the number of these holding local PEC clinics and specialist outreach clinics, and the average duration of clinic appointments therein.

Methods An internet-based questionnaire was distributed via PECSIG and NICHe (Neonatologists with Interest in Cardiology and Haemodynamics) databases. Non-responders were followed up by telephone.

Results The response rate was 80% (141/177 hospitals). Of these, 68% (96/141) had established PEC services with at least 1 PEC employed and 19% (27/177) employed two or more PECs per hospital.

Local, PEC-led outpatient clinics were held in all 96 hospitals where at least one PEC was employed. Overall, 47% (66/141) of hospitals held PEC-led clinics at least weekly, 11% (16/141) fortnightly and 10% (14/141) monthly or less frequently. However, 32% (45/141) held no PEC-led paediatric cardiology clinics. The mode time for new patient appointments at the PEC-led clinics was 30 min (range: 20–45 min) and the mode duration for follow-up appointments was 20 min (range 20–30 min).

Specialist outreach clinics, run with the support of a visiting Consultant paediatric cardiologist, were held in 87% (123/141) of hospitals. The majority of these clinics (72%, 88/123) were held monthly. 19 hospitals held no specialist outreach clinics and 11 of these hospitals did not hold any local PEC-led clinics either.

Conclusion There has been a substantial increase in PEC availability in non-specialist paediatric cardiology hospitals (68% as compared to 35% in 2008) but still almost one-third (32%) had no established PEC services. In most but not all hospitals, support was offered by tertiary-centres for paediatric cardiology via specialist out-reach clinics. There remain at least 11 hospitals that neither employ a PEC nor receive any specialist support via outreach clinics.

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