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Bristol babies timeline
Bristol Children's Hospital exterior

Before 1985

In 1975, the surgeon at the centre of the eventual crisis, James Wisheart, was appointed by the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

At that point, Bristol was only a small centre, carrying out only 108 child heart operations a year, but from the late 1970s onwards, Avon Health Authority began to pump more money in.

By 1985, the unit was completing 435 a year.

Children from England's south-west had historically been poorly provided-for compared to those living elsewhere. In 1984, the British Medical Journal said that it was the area with the worst capacity for heart surgery per head of population.

Now, however, the government decided that Bristol should be designated a special centre for child heart surgery, meaning it was given extra funding to develop the unit.


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