Families across Mid Ulster are being encouraged to respond to the current consultation on the future of paediatric cardiac service.
Chief Executive of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, Sarah Quinlan, issued the call at a meeting in Toomebridge for parents and families of those born with congenital heart disease.
At the meeting attendees heard further detail from two of Northern Ireland’s senior paediatric cardiologists on how strengthening the proposals can positively impact the delivery of care and surgery.
Ms Quinlan said: “The recommendations made by the International Working Group have the potential, if implemented in full to provide a clear care pathway for every child born with congenital heart disease. “However, to achieve this we will need to see the development of all the necessary support structures including a dedicated centre in Belfast, as well as some further clarity from the Department on key matters such as infrastructure, transport, care pathways and capacity in Dublin.
“Our meeting this evening allowed the cardiologists to outline their view on the proposals as they stand and the best way forward. The discussion and interaction with parents shows the willingness of everyone to work together with the safety and care of the children remaining top priority. It is important that parents, families, medical professionals and clinicians, ensure that their voice is heard through the consultation.”
The Department for Health is currently consulting on the document Delivering High Quality Congenital Cardiac Services, from the International Working Group’s Recommended Future Model for Delivering Congenital Cardiac Services.
They are conducting a number of public meetings on this matter over the coming weeks, and the consultation closes on 23 January.
Ms Quinlan added: “As the department carries out its public meetings, I hope that those who have supported the Hands up For Heart Surgery in every county engage with the process to help deliver a first class all-island network.”
The consultation document and response can be found at www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/showconsultations