'Momentous' day for campaigner
A counselling psychologist turned campaigner has helped to overhaul care standards for people with congenital heart conditions in Scotland.
Dr Liza Morton, who has been advocating for higher-quality and consistent care for patients for many years, helped to oversee the production of the new National Healthcare Standards for those with congenital heart disease (CHD).
After being born with a heart condition herself and experiencing firsthand the gaps in health care for adults with CHD, Morton became a Campaign Manager for the congenital heart charity The Somerville Foundation in 2012. Since then she has worked tirelessly, in petitioning the Scottish Government, sitting on official boards and working on science–arts collaborations, to raise awareness of CHD among politicians and improve the care people can expect from birth and into adulthood. While survival rates for CHD have improved enormously over the past few decades (in the 1940s only 20 per cent of babies with CHD reached adulthood now 90 per cent do), many adults with these conditions require lifelong monitoring but are often lost in the system owing to gaps in care.
The new National Healthcare Standards for children and adults were recently published by NHS Scotland’s commissioning body the National Services Division and reflect NHS England’s CHD guidelines. The document sets out who should be seen, where and for what, aiming to improve care across many vital areas, such as 24-hour access to consultations with specialist cardiology services, psychological support and improved communication with local care providers. Morton sees the publication as ‘momentous’ and said she is becoming increasingly interested in the psychological effects of living with a heart condition from birth.
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