Council oppose plans to move paediatric surgery out of Northern Ireland

MAGHERAFELT District Council has come out against any plan to move paediatric surgery for children out of Northern Ireland.

The provision of paediatric cardiac surgery currently carried out at the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast, was the subject of discussion at the recent meeting of the Council. A report by the `UK Safe and Sustainable Team` proposed the cessation of paedatric surgery in the Royal for children with heart disease.

The report`s authors claimed that there simply was not enough paediatric operations taking place within the hospital to make the practice sustainable.

Sinn Fein Councillor Caoimhe Scullion commented: “The report`s recommendations were based on a demographic model for England with a population of 60 million and bears no relevance whatsoever on what is required for the north of Ireland.

“The cessation of paediatric care would mean those families requiring the treatment would have to travel by air to England or Wales.

“This in itself is impracticable and unsafe. What is required is that the health services on both sides of the border need to collectively come up with a solution that will accomodate all those in need within the entire island of Ireland.

“A single all-island approach to the provision of paediatric cardiac care would make the service in itself sustainable.

“I am delighted that a Sinn Féin proposal was adopted by council which called on the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to `reassure parents that the future service model for Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services will prioritise the needs of their children’ and further calls on the Minister to explore fully an all-island solution with his counterpart Dr James Reilly.”