Parents protest heart surgery move

Parents protest heart surgery move

Parents have staged a protest at Stormont against the proposed relocation of children's heart surgery from Belfast to Dublin, as a health committee met to hear evidence on the move.

On Wednesday an assembly health committee met with the Health and Social Care Board to hear about recommendations that could see congenital heart surgery move to the Republic of Ireland.

The proposal was the result of a consultation after the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children's service was deemed unsustainable due to the numbers of patients it deals with - around 90 per year.

Chief Executive John Compton reiterated the board's position at the meeting that the proposed move was due to safety issues and sustainability.

But outside on the Hill, campaigners were still vocal in their opposition.

Gerald Clifford, said the final decision was not up to Mr Compton but was Health Minister Edwin Poot's responsibility.

"We're hopeful the Minister hears the families and clinicians that work in the service," he explained.

Graeme Callender was demonstrating with his young daughter, a patient of children's heart services at the Royal.

"My wee girl would not be here today if it wasn't for the heart services in Belfast so we're here to plea to Minister Poots," he said.

Young mum Rachael Curry said she was demonstrating on behalf of children who would be affected by the move.

"We're all here today as parents to speak on behalf of our children who can't speak for themselves, to say we will not accept this decision," she explained.

Last week Health Minister Edwin Poots said he would make his decision following further discussions, including with representatives in the Republic.


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