Parents protest heart surgery move

Published Wednesday, 01 May 2013
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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.

Parents protest heart surgery move
Campaigners protested outside Stormont on Wednesday. (© UTV)

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.

© UTV News
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2 Comments
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (505 days ago):
Why is there no money for health when there is money for other stuff. Police are driving about in new landrovers and cars with their helicopter and new drones. The Balls on the falls and all the other "modern art" we see around the town. Who is funding those blue coat community safety wardens and their transport and what do they do anyway. That mess they have made of belfast roads cost a bomb Many many other things so Why is heart surgery being moved? Why is the city A&E not going to reopen? Why is a smaller A&E being planned for the Royal when the one that is there is not big enough? Why are our elderly in tears on local TV about being force out of their care homes? Redirect money from other departments and do the stuff that really matters.
John in Belfast wrote (505 days ago):
Westminster doesn't care guys. They fund us enough they say. Dublin it is or travel to a different island for services. No money available from the block!!!!
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The voice above the crowd didn't come from within that increasingly tense and angry political arena.
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