Campaign to save Children’s Heart Surgery comes to Antrim
A CAMPAIGN and roadshow to to save children’s heart surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast has been launched and will visit Antrim on Thursday, September 6.
A public meeting will take place at 7.30pm at the Antrim Forum.
The launch of the campaign follows the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Edwin Poots’ announcement on the 1st August that the future of paediatric heart surgery services at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is under review following recommendations made by the UK Safe and Sustainable Team.
Since the announcement was made, nearly 10,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the retention of paediatric heart surgery in Belfast. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in Northern Ireland with over 250 births each year. Today kicks off a series of public meetings across Northern Ireland at which local families AND public representatives can hear at first hand the negative impact that the ending of surgery would have.
Joanne Clifford from Craigavon, mother of two-year old Liam Clifford said: “When we were told that Liam had a heart defect which needed urgent surgery we were devastated. The clinicians and surgical team at the Clark Clinic at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children have been first class since then and Liam today enjoys life as any toddler does. The idea that we would have had to travel to England for this treatment is simply unimaginable – not only would this have placed huge emotional stress on our family, separating us from all family support and our son undergoing complex surgery many miles from home, but the financial pressure would also have been enormous.
Speaking at the launch, Sarah Quinlan, Executive Officer, Children’s Heartbeat Trust said: “The closure of paediatric heart surgery in Belfast would be devastating for children suffering from congenital heart disease, their families, and the resulting deskilling would put at risk long term the current world class service available at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
“Being forced to travel to England will mean the loss of family support for young children, huge pressure on wider family units as well as increased financial strain. As the most common birth defect among children in Northern Ireland, it is vital that people from across the region are aware of this issue she added.
“Today kicks off a series of meetings across Northern Ireland where parents and children will be spelling out the difficulties they face if paediatric cardiac surgery is stopped in Northern Ireland.
The UK Safe and Sustainable report clarifies that the current surgical provision in Belfast is totally safe – it is our position that surgery must continue in Belfast as part of an all-Ireland network operating between Belfast and Dublin. This will ensure the retention of the service and requires a closer working relationship with Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin.”
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Weather for Antrim
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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Wind direction: South