Northern Ireland

Belfast father recalls how son got surgery in Dublin

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Media captionAidan Kearney's son had heart surgery at a Dublin hospital this week

A father from Northern Ireland whose son has received heart surgery at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, south Dublin, says he would like some level of surgery to be retained in Belfast.

A new report has said that although the service at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is safe it is no longer sustainable.

It says children who require surgery should now travel to Dublin. Birmingham had also been cited as an option.

Aidan Kearney from Belfast, whose son had surgery in Dublin earlier this week, said he would choose Dublin in comparison to travelling to England.

"My son is doing very well thank God, he has had surgery on Monday and everything is going well at the moment," he said.

"In Belfast they have whittled down the level of surgery, so that any high-level surgery or complex surgery seems to have been whittled down and the level of surgeons are not there at the moment to provide it.

"With the safe and sustainable review, we were promptly told it (the surgery) wouldn't be in Belfast, that it would either be in Dublin or in Birmingham.

"We opted for here (Dublin) as it is that little bit closer to home."

Mr Kearney explained why Dublin was preferable to Birmingham for him.

"It was a lot easier, my sister-in-law will bring my other two children down to visit us, so they can see their brother, we haven't seen them for two weeks at this stage," he added.

"In Birmingham it would be that much harder, they would need to get flights and it would just be more awkward to sort out."

Mr Kearney said that if some children, currently in Our Lady's Children Hospital in Crumlin, had not received treatment in Belfast they "would not have made it this distance".

"A child was only born a week ago, had surgery in Belfast and then was transferred down here for their major surgery, without surgery in Belfast the child would not have survived," he said.

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