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Call for heart surgery provision in Ireland

30th August 2012

The future of paediatric heart surgery in Belfast is to come under the spotlight at a series of public meetings amid calls for an All-Ireland network of treatment.

pedcongentialheartsurgery

A UK-wide review of children’s heart surgery earlier this year found that the service provided at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children was safe but was not sustainable.

As a direct result of that, Stormont Health Minister Edwin Poots said he was reviewing the future of local paediatric heart surgery provision.

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in Northern Ireland and affects more than 250 babies a year.

But there are now fears among families that the outcome of Mr Poots’ review could see children and families having to travel to England for treatment with some 10,000 people having signed an online petition calling for the retention of paediatric cardiac surgery in Belfast.

However, the Children’s Heartbeat Trust is now advocating a cross-border service with the Republic of Ireland.

Sarah Quinlan from the trust, said: “Our aim is to keep children’s heart surgical services in Belfast, working as part of an all-Ireland network with Dublin, because sending all children who need interventional procedures for congenital heart disease to England is simply unacceptable.”

She said an all-Ireland network operating between Belfast and Dublin would ensure the retention of the service but required a closer working relationship with Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin.

It now plans to hold a series of meetings across Northern Ireland over the next couple of months.

 

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