I welcome a confirmation from the Minister for Health that children from Northern Ireland will not be placed at the bottom of waiting lists when travelling to England for Heart Surgery. This follows concerns raised with me by parents that local children could be disadvantaged when childrens cardiac surgery ceases in Belfast next month.
“Following news of changes to childrens heart surgery next year, parents had approached me whose children will have to attend heart centres in England whilst the new arrangements bed in. I understand that this will be the case for a number of children as capacity is increased in Dublin. They were genuinely worried that their child might end up being placed lower in waiting lists in England, effectively competing with local children for slots.
I am delighted that the Minister for Health has now confirmed that this will not be the case and that heart centres in Birminghan and London have sufficient capacity to treat children from Northern Ireland who have to travel.
This is welcome news, and just removes another anxiety from parents and children who are facing major surgery and the disruption of having to travel significant distances.