Northern Ireland

RBHSC only UK hospital at risk of losing child heart surgery

Prepping for surgery
Image caption A report has recommended that children from Northern Ireland should be treated in Dublin.

The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is now the only hospital in the UK where children's heart surgery is under threat.

It follows the decision by the health secretary to suspend a decision to close three children's heart units in England.

The NHS had planned to concentrate care in fewer, bigger centres

A local charity has said the health board in Northern Ireland has serious questions to answer.

Mr Hunt said a report into the review had concluded that it was based on flawed data and left too many unanswered questions.

Exposed

Sarah Quinlan from the Children's Heartbeat Trust says Northern Ireland has been left exposed.

"The key findings in England and Wales have been rejected by a high court judge, an independent panel of experts and the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt himself," she said.

"And yet the review of services on Northern Ireland has led us to a position where the Royal Belfast hospital is now the only hospital in the UK or Ireland where the closure of children's heart surgery is still on the table."

Following a consultation it was recommended that children's heart surgery should move to Dublin.

Families are campaigning that some surgery remains in the Belfast unit.

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