Trust backs child cardiac move to Dublin

Published Friday, 22 February 2013
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The Belfast Trust is in favour of moving some children's cardiac surgery from the city's Royal Victoria Hospital to Dublin, UTV can reveal.

Trust backs child cardiac move to Dublin
Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. (© Pacemaker)

The chief executive of the Trust set out its position in documents which were obtained by patients' families under the Freedom of Information Act.

The health minister is due to announce the outcome of a consultation on the service at the Children's Hospital.

It was put under consideration after it was deemed unsustainable due to the numbers of patients it deals with - around 90 per year.

The Department of Health is consulting on options, including whether to treat patients in Dublin or in England.

"We believe that the best option for the provision of a safe and sustainable service for children with congenital cardiac conditions is for the development of a network arrangement with Our Lady's Hospital in Dublin where surgery, interventional and diagnostic catheterizations are undertaken in Dublin for Belfast patients by Belfast and Dublin clinical staff," the Trust document stated.

The Trust supported a gradual transition to Dublin that would take "preferably" no longer than a year.

"The resulting combined all Ireland surgical service would have a case load of at least 650 surgical patients per year, easily meeting the minimum number of 400 paediatric surgical procedures per annum," the document said.

The Trust is confident that a sustainable service arrangement can be delivered on an all-Ireland basis for the majority of the paediatric service.

Belfast Trust

The Children's Heartbeat Trust has been campaigning to keep services at the Royal open.

Its chairman, retired paediatric cardiologist Dr Connor Mullholland, said the Trust's conclusion is "ill-informed and ill-advised" and that children's lives may potentially be put at risk.

"It does not, at this point, support the evidence from several reviews of the cardiac surgery within the Children's Hospital," he said.

"At the moment, there are newborn babies who get a procedure carried out within hours of birth in the children's hospital, or in the maternity hospital , but who will under these circumstances be taken to another centre and certainly the risks are increased as a consequence."

He said the response from parents' groups has been enormous in their opposition to the move.

He said that he had also heard from staff at the Royal Hospital who were opposed to the removal of the service.

He said: "They really have said that if a speciality that deals with a hundred children a year is vulnerable, then what could be done to other small but important specialties in the Children's Hospital as a consequence?"

Aidan Kearney, whose son Ben was referred to the Children's Hospital in Belfast, said he received the best of care.

He said that Ben has had to go back to the ward for follow up treatments, which Mr Kearney said may not be available in Belfast if the changes go through.

"It's been very hard since we first found out that Ben was diagnosed with a CHD (congenital heart defect) two years ago.

"We have been lucky in that the procedures that Ben has undertaken so far have been able to be carried out in Belfast.

But he said that he has concerns about the future as Ben will require further surgery.

"We have a very good support network in Belfast, a very good support network, we have family and friends close by who would look after our other two boys," he said.

"However, if these services were taken to Dublin or England, with an emergency procedure there's no guarantee that you would get to the hospital in time.

"Also the support network just wouldn't be there to support our family. We wouldn't see our other two children when we were away."

A Belfast Trust spokesperson has said that no decisions have been made in relation to the future configuration of the paediatric cardiology services.

"The HSCB have approved a framework for the commissioning of paediatric cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology for children in Northern Ireland," they said.

"This framework has been sent to the Minister of Health for his consideration. The Trust awaits the outcome of this review."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ryan in Belfast wrote (702 days ago):
@Big D in Omagh: Big D, thats not true. The UK did not "bail out" the ROI, it was the EUROPEAN UNION and the Eurozone that bailed out the ROI, of which 17 billion of the 60 billion bailout fund was provided by the ROI themselves. The UK provided a LOAN of 7 billion (which needs to be paid back) specifically for the ROI to use that 7 billion to prop up BRITISH BANKING INVESTMENTS/INTERESTS in the ROI. So big d, dont go fooling yourself thinking the UK bailed out anybody, the UK themselves had to be bailed out in 1974 by the IMF because they went bankrupt. And of the 7 billion loaned to the ROI by the UK, i'd be surprised iff a penny of it came out of Northern ireland, since the bulk of the British economy is in England and the city of london.
James, English not British. in London, England. St George, Not Union Jack a flag that represents half the world. You can have it. wrote (702 days ago):
@Big D in Omagh, how sad you are, services in Ireland are alot better than in Belfast. The NHS has not got the money to keep it in NI. You are bailing out Ireland?? You don't even support yourselves.... You cannot afford to. The London government loaned Ireland €5 billion euros with interest, to safegaurd its interests in Ireland. We have billions invested in Ireland, alot more than what we have in the North. Ireland is my countries 4th biggest market in the world for exports. Hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on Ireland doing well. Your just ignorant and uneducated. NI depends on Ireland alot more than you think or want to believe.
Big D in Omagh wrote (702 days ago):
Here i know were already propping up the ROI bailing them out financially but the NHS was designed for UK Citizens why is essential care being moved to a foreign country? no way would i want my child being rushed to the ROI not after the recent disgrace about that poor Indian lady left to die because of the medieval mentality shown by the health services in the ROI.
Rab in Belfast wrote (702 days ago):
We must not allow this to happen because City A&E was closed through the back door and the RVH and Mater cant cope. We pay enough taxes and NI for our NHS and Tory spin that NHS budget is potected from cuts rings hollow. Poots and Stormont must resist these Tory cuts and spend the budget appropriately. Too much waste in their expenses and quangos etc. Leading clinicians (whose opinions and advice must be the only factor) have stated childrens lives will be unecessarily lost or condition detioriorate if this service is moved to Dublin.
ady in Tyrone wrote (702 days ago):
Sad to see the closure of any healthcare facility but just a wee thought to norman.d and Co who are worried about the dangers of an "extended" journey to Dublin. There is very little difference in journey time from much of the West of this State to Dublin and if anything road conditions are much better. There is much more to this Country than dirty old Belfast !
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