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Consultation begins of future of Children’s Cardiac Care


A consultation process starts today to consider the future service model for children in Northern Ireland who require heart surgery and other specialist interventional aspects of cardiac care. The consultation, which will be extensive in nature, will run until December of this year.

This consultation follows publication of a report of a review of Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services in Northern Ireland. The review did not identify any immediate safety concerns with the current arrangements for paediatric cardiac surgery but concluded that the surgical element of the service was not sustainable. The review recommended that the potential safety risks be addressed within a period of six months.

At the request of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), the HSC Board in partnership with the Public Health Agency, established a Working Group in August 2012. This Group was tasked with developing a document to include the following areas for formal public consultation:

The consultation document has been prepared by the Working Group and subsequently approved by the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

The membership of the Working Group includes representatives from the HSC Board, Public Health Agency, Belfast Trust, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, Western Trust, Patient and Client Council, parents and parent groups.

The document, Consultation on the future delivery of Paediatric Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology for the population of Northern Ireland, can be obtained from the Board’s website www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult/PCCS_Consultation

HSC Board Director of Commissioning and Chair of the Working Group, Mr Dean Sullivan, commended members of the Working Group for their efforts in producing the consultation document.

Mr Sullivan said: “The insight and expert knowledge provided by everyone on the Working Group was invaluable in producing a balanced and comprehensive consultation document. The shared objective of everyone involved is to secure future arrangements that provide a high quality, safe, sustainable, accessible and timely service for children from Northern Ireland. It is very important that everyone with an interest in these vital services considers what we have presented and makes known their views during the course of the consultation.”

A 12-week period of consultation will take place from Wednesday, 26 September 2012 ending on Friday, 21 December 2012.

A series of public meetings will be held over the next three months at venues across Northern Ireland to provide further information on the proposals and encourage input into the consultation process. Details will be published in the press and on the Board’s website.

Following the end of the consultation period, the Working Group will develop a post-consultation document, incorporating an analysis of responses and recommendations on the future delivery of services for the population of Northern Ireland. The Minister will consider this document before making a decision on the future model for provision of paediatric cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology for the population of Northern Ireland in early 2013.