Children’s Heart Centre needed to ensure a strong future for children’s heart services in Northern Ireland.
A stand alone Children’s Heart Centre is key for the delivery of care for children with congenital heart disease, that was the message delivered today to MLAs at the NI Assembly All Party Group on Congenital Heart Disease. The plan for a Children’s Heart Centre for Northern Ireland has been developed by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, who presented drawings of the proposal to the members at Parliament Buildings as part of Heart Week, the annual awareness week for congenital heart disease.
Attendees of the event heard from Tracey Wall, Divisional Nurse Manager at Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin who spoke of the benefits of a similar centre in Dublin, while Dr Frank Casey, Head of Paediatric Cardiology at the Clark Clinic, outlined the plans and the need for a NI Children’s Heart Centre.
The Children’s Heart Centre would develop and enhance the cardiology expertise and care that a child living with congenital heart disease needs, other than surgery. It would house a dedicated outpatients, facilities, services, training and support that cannot currently be met within the confines of the hospital at the moment.
Speaking at the event, Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive, Children’s Heartbeat Trust, said: “The paediatric cardiology service in Belfast now needs investment and development. Families of children with heart disease have been promised an improved local service and we need to see that commitment being delivered. A purpose built Children’s Heart Centre in Belfast will allow delivery of a first class care for every child with a heart defect across Northern Ireland, as well as freeing up resources in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.”
“Our vision for the Children’s Heart Centre encompasses all the care needs that children and their families require other than heart surgery and as they grow up. This will include regular appointments with specialist staff, investigations and tests. We understand that this will require capital expenditure, but this should be recognised as a long term investment in a service that hundreds of children currently access and that needs crucial support and development to maintain its current high standards in the face of losing its surgical element.