Thanks to funding secured from high street fashion entrepreneur George Davies, Mr Nigel Drury, a Consultant in Paediatric Cardiac Surgery at our Children’s Hospital, was able to lead the launch of the UK’s first national study into identifying research priorities for patients diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD).

Twelve children in the UK are born with CHD every day, making it the most common type of birth defect.

Medical and surgical advances over the last 70 years have meant survival rates have improved, with approximately 97% of children diagnosed with CHD now expected to reach adulthood. However these children often need treatment throughout their lives, requiring specialist review during childhood and into adulthood.

To date, research into the conditions, and its impact on those living with it, has been surprisingly limited, highlighting a need to address the lack of evidence to inform clinical decision-making. Thanks to the generous donation from George Davies – the innovator behind clothing brands such as Next, Per Una and George at Asda – Mr Drury, along with collaborators from other leading institutions, were able to launch this national study to identify the most important research questions.

The initial survey sought input from patients, parents, carers and clinicians from across the UK to establish two ‘top 10’ lists of national priorities for future research in children and adults. The results will lead to the high-quality, collaborative, multi-centre trials needed to improve outcomes for patients and families.

A long-term supporter of the Children’s Hospital, Mr Davies gifted the money through the George Davies Charitable Trust in celebration of his granddaughter who was treated for CHD at our hospital in 2006.

Mr Davies said: “Supporting Birmingham Children’s Hospital in its research of congenital heart disease is very dear to my heart as my granddaughter, now 15-years-old, received life-saving treatment at the hospital when she was just seven-days-old, after she was diagnosed with a rare heart defect. The hospital is a world-renowned centre of excellence for cardiac procedures and I’m delighted to support the team in its vision to identify the areas of research needed to enable advances in treatment and care.”

Chairman of our hospitals and charity, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, a former cardiac surgeon and Medical Director of NHS England, said: “The research priorities identified through this study will be key in driving innovation to improve the treatment, outcome and quality of life for children and adults across the UK living with congenital heart disease. We’re incredibly thankful to the George Davies Charitable Trust for enabling us to complete this much-needed research.”