Dickson: Minister must be clear on paediatric congenital cardiac services plans

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has quizzed the Health Minister on his plans for the future of paediatric congenital cardiac services at Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital.

The MLA for East Antrim said the Minister must give assurances that Belfast and Dublin will co-operate fully to deliver as good or even better service than currently on offer in Birmingham.

The Minister is currently assessing the existing service in Belfast and considering flying patients to England to supplement facilities in Belfast. The Alliance Party believes through greater co-operation with the Republic of Ireland, children with congenital cardiac problems could be treated in Dublin, as well as Belfast.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “The Minister must consider the benefits of a complimentary service between Belfast and Dublin.

“I witnessed first-hand the need for this service to remain close-by. My great-nephew received life-saving surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital a number of days after his birth. It was impossible for his mother, who had had a Caesarean section, to travel anywhere other than from the Ulster Hospital to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

“If the service cannot be maintained in Belfast then surely greater co-operation between Belfast and Dublin is the best way forward for patients and their families.”

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